Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Angel of Darkness

aka: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - El ángel de la Oscuridad, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - L'Ange des Ténèbres, Tomb Raider 6, Tomb Raider AoD, Tomb Raider VI, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
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(prices updated 9/27 5:17 PM )

Description official descriptions

Help Tomb Raider's famous heroine, Lara Croft, save the world from the forces of evil.

As the game begins, Lara wakes from a stupor. Recalling what she can of the past few hours, she remembers walking in on a killer after discovering the body of Von Croy, her friend and former mentor. She must make a hasty escape from the authorities who blame her for the crime. Determined to discover the fiend responsible, Lara eventually uncovers an evil plot that could cause the destruction of mankind. If the reincarnation of the "angel of darkness" is allowed to happen, the world is doomed!

The game environment is set in the somewhat distant future. You'll lead Lara mostly in 3rd person perspective, travelling to various locales in Europe. Explore sewers, cemeteries, warehouses, factories and cities. A multitude of NPCs will be encountered, both in the form of friend as well as foe.

Angel of Darkness introduces new stealth and close-combat moves - ducking, sneaking and hug-the-walls walking. Lara must build her skills by performing action sequences. You'll have her running, dodging, performing flying leaps and platform jumps, shimming along walls and cables, as well as moving boxes and other obstacles around. Advancements are achieved with strategically placed power-ups. Collect weapons and ammunition, artifacts and money.

You'll also play Kurtis Trent, a new male counterpart, for several "levels". Although Kurtis gets in Lara's way when she first meets him, he eventually becomes an ally when they realize they are both working towards the same goal.

Spellings

  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Ангел Тьмы - Russian spelling
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - מלאכית האופל - Hebrew spelling
  • 古墓丽影:黑暗天使 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 古墓奇兵:暗黑天使 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

115 People (92 developers, 23 thanks) · View all

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Lead Programmer
Lead Animator
Lead Game Designer
Lead Artist
Systems Programmers
Animation System
Background System
A.I.
Player Control System
Physics System
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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 55% (based on 45 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 84 ratings with 5 reviews)

Here we go again...

The Good
Tomb Raider: AoD features an all new graphical engine capable of many many polygons and beautiful environments, richly detailed with fluid animation and crisp texturing. Along with its new look, TR: AoD sports a snazzy storyline that pits Lara in the middle of a murder mystery. It's 'whodunnit' and the star is everybody's favorite busty heroine. From the CGI to the settings, it's all very well done with a consistent style through the whole game, clearly influenced by a particular film debut. The rest of the game has stayed pretty familiar throughout, from running, jumping and shooting, to exploring with intense music, clear sound effects and some of the highest heights imaginable. TR: AoD delivers the traditional experience that most TR fans want(ed) with a new sort of flair and gusto that shows, Core Design and Eidos are trying to give a damn.

Finally, the best point about the newest installment has to be--no, not her curves, though they look fantastic--the save feature. I like being able to save anywhere. I'm primarily a gamer upon computer, thus this speaks to me. To all game developers the world over, save anywhere!

The Bad
TR: AoD brings to life frustration unbound. With fluid animation, Core lost control. Not that Lara was ever the most controllable character on the console, but TR: AoD shows that with a little love, any character can be turned into an Analog nightmare. Countless times you will find yourself flying to your doom at the bottom of a pit due to a last minute twitch of the thumb which sent Lara careening towards a wall, rather than the ledge. Though Core has tried to deal with this possibility by making the 'grabbable area' very forgiving so you could be at a fifteen degree angle and still manage to latch on. Sometimes it's no help though.

Core also tried to bring a new gameplay element to life in TR in the form of Role Playing. This almost worked because Lara is a 'detective' of sorts, thus it fits the role. Unfortunatly, since the game is set in Paris that meant they needed voice actors to mimick a french accent, and we all know that the TR series has never had the best voice actors at the best of times. Lines are choppy, hurried and sometimes down right annoying. Lara was played expertly, however, with a convincing british tounge, but no british lingo. Too bad.

In addition to the Role Playing game play, Core implemented a sort of attribute upgrade system, wherein Lara could improve her abilities. Having been out of the Tomb Raiding game for some time, Lara evidently needs to brush up on her skills. Thus at certain points you will increase your strength in certain ways. I decided this was something I didn't like because of the way it was implemented. Instead of having it increased through pickups or experience points, or some such, Lara is in fact limited until she reaches a point in the game and the attribute upgrade is used as a way to prevent the player from reaching a point without fullfilling an objective. Examples include doors that can't be opened until you pull a lever in a room that activates something else entirely. In other words, all the running and jumping is great but only after you pull the lever does Lara 'feel stronger'. I can understand the reasoning behind this from a game design standpoint, but overall, it is simply ridiculous.

The Aritificial Intelligence in TR: AoD is shit. For lack of a better description, it is absolute garbage. There is in fact, no AI. There is PacMan intelligence. Am I being too harsh? I'll cite an example: I climbed down a ladder to get away from a guard. The guard, as I was climbing away, withdrew his sidearm and began firing at where I was upon the ladder. He emptied his clip into the thin air that I left in my wake. He then reloaded, and began firing again. After that clip, he reloaded and fired... and reloaded, and fired. This continued. Finally, after me and my girlfriend had had a good laugh about this, I climbed the ladder, at my girlfriend's behest, and killed the guard.

Oh, the stealth, I'll note is a nifty addition. Though we caught some of this gameplay in Chronicles, it is much improved. Be warned, however, it is a far cry from Metal Gear. Hell, it isn't even Tenchu.

The Bottom Line
Do you like Tomb Raider? Yeah, me too, got time to kill? Rent it.

PlayStation 2 · by tantoedge (19) · 2003

Classic Tomb Raider reprised.

The Good
Tomb Raider(TR) has truly evolved into something to be impressed at. From the first TR, to hit retail on the Sega Genesis platform, till TR: Angel of Darkness(AoD) I have been a huge fan. I won't comment on how I flipped when they decided to turn my favorite video game heroine into a full motion picture. Let's go over the basics, shall we:

  1. Graphics: These were done with bloody good taste. Eidos has used the power of the PS2 engine and blasted out the epitome of 'lifelike'. Lara Croft is no longer that boxy, archaic character from TR1 but now a smooth-lined, sexy, and real game character. The background had me feeling as if I was actually visiting these place and I wanted to explore every nook and cranny before moving on to the next level/task at hand. Great Job! 10 out of 10 pts.

  2. Sound: Absolutely amazing! But I must say that since the first TR I have always been a great fan of the music employed to better tell Lara's story. It's great to hear how it has also improved over the years. I believe that, along with the motion picture music, they should make a soundtrack for those who truly enjoy the instrumentals. Like myself. The character voices did leave little to be desired and I am quite sure that some of them could have been done better. But, let's be serious, the only person that we really want to hear, being TR fans, is Lara Croft. I can give nothing but two thumbs up to whoever did her voice. Stellar performances! 10 out of 10.

    The Bad
    To be fair and well rounded, I will mention somethings that did irk my nerves. To be quite honest, not every game is perfect and I do believe that is one of the why sequels are made to the originals. Not only do sequels improved on what is already great, but they serve to introduce new missions, characters, levels, and fix bugs and add needed changes. That is precisely what was done in the TR series. It's quite obvious to anyone who is an avid TR fan. With that in mind, lets continue:

Artificial Intelligence(AI): In some cases, Artificial Idiots. I believe that it is quite difficult to actually make an intelligent NPC. They follow specific programs codes that can be changed by the character in a limited way. Basically, if you do this, the NPC will do that, so on and so forth. At one point during gameplay, near the beginning of the game, I had to sneak up on a guard whose back was facing me. To test the guard, I ran up to him with guns drawn. No response. I then proceeded to walk to his front and, facing him, shot the guard in his head for being so stupid. Initially an 8 out of 10 but I understand the difficult task the developers have so the final is 9 out of 10.

Controls: This too has evolved. For the better and a little towards the worse. The game is very involved and require a bit of reading to the get control assignments down. This is usual with most games of the RPG, action, adventure, etc., genre. The controls in TR:AoD were, honestly, annoying. I am justified in this because I have been playing from the start and I know the older controls. I am not too happy that they used the analog nightmare for direction instead of the D-pad. With one wrong move of your thumb Lara is sent to her death, or you miss a ledge, or something else happens that you just did not want to happen. I want the developers to bring the controls back to the Tomb Raider: Chronicles era. Weighed and found wanting: 5 out of 10.

The Bottom Line
In conclusion, there were two reviews done before this one that accurately purposefully went over both extremes and opinions of the game. I felt that in one of the reviews, to label someone as a 'crackhead' because they don't like the controls, was uncalled for. He was a little to zealous in his efforts but I understand the point he was trying to make. The other review was very professional, went over most points in detail, and refrained from name calling. I appreciated his opinions as well. I stand like this: Eidos is always exceeding itself. The first TR, I thought, was an extraordinary achievement and they keep coming better and better. I would have preferred they stick to the Chronicles controls but one has to understand that with sequels, and such, comes change. With practice, anyone can handle it. Everything else was great and because of love my girl, Lara, so much, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness gets at 10 out of 10!

PlayStation 2 · by Haiku (9) · 2003

Worth playing ... despite its flaws!

The Good
I finished playing Angel of Darkness only 5 minutes ago, and I must admit that I enjoyed quite a lot of it. I feel elated that I actually did it! And using a laptop keyboard no less! Don’t ask me how I managed it because I got so very frustrated and almost quit at least 4 times. Keep in mind that this is my very first Tomb Raider game and my inexperience with action games like this was probably the reason for my anguish!

I played the fully patched version of Angel of Darkness, remember, so I don’t know how many things were changed from the original release. That said, I agree with some of the comments made by other reviewers, but not all of them.

The story stands out as the best thing about AoD and what kept me playing. An evil man intends to reincarnate the only remaining member of an ancient and potentially deadly race (the angel of darkness, I presume). Of course, Lara is the only one who can stop that from happening. Although the plot is not new and has been used many times (in movies as well as games), it is still good and is told well in this game.

While graphics are nothing exceptional, and occasional programming and design glitches were noticed, I still thought they were nicely done overall – colorful, varied and interesting. Of course Lara looks good, but so do the other characters.

And speaking of the NPCs, there are plenty of them – and the actors do a fine job in portraying them – especially the actress who voiced Lara. I got a real feel for Lara’s personality from that voice and from the dialog written for her part. I was surprised how well the lip-syncing came off – very good indeed.

The musical score adds quite a lot to the mood of the moment and the game in general. Sound effects blend in and are appropriate to your location or the actions you are taking. (Lara’s screams as she plummeted to her death time after time will be remembered for a long while. Ha!)

As far as action elements go, I expected more tomb “raiding” and fighting off monsters –and while there was some of that, not nearly the hack and slash I thought it would be. Close-combat moves (supposedly introduced in this game), were great and stealth was fun to do. The majority of gameplay is spent jumping over bottomless pits to far-away platforms, climbing up ladders and walls and shimmying across ledges. “Adventure” type puzzles were more mechanical than anything else – pulling levers in a certain order, for instance. Lara’s “power-ups” were simply a means of stopping you from doing something too early until she became “stronger”.

The interface is fairly simple. A touch of the ESCape key puts you back at the main menu for saving, loading, options and exit. Pressing the TAB key accesses your weapons and items. Loading your weapons with ammo “manually” seemed like an unnecessary step to me, though. If you didn’t plan ahead, you could run out mid-fight! (Why not just equip the ammunition automatically?) Not counting the one Quick Save slot, there are only 14 save game slots, but I found that adequate. The only annoying part about the interface was when I chose to Exit – it asked me two times if I was sure!

I chose the full installation so I didn’t need either of the 2 discs in my drive while I played. Nice. AoD has a decent length and it took quite awhile for me to finish (especially with my fumbling fingers). And the end game sequence was great!

The Bad
Yes - the game has some bugs, and it even crashed to my desktop a few times on me. I was able to continue afterwards, though, so no big deal. (Sometimes I wished I had saved more often, but that’s not the game’s fault!)

Yes - Lara (and Kurtis) run too slowly, which is especially noticeable during one or two of the major fight sequences. “Running” actually starts out with a few walking steps before going into a sort of trot. Although Lara can eventually sprint faster, she must be running first.

Yes - the camera angles are weird at times, especially if you have no clue where you want to go.

In three of the “levels”, you get to play the part of Kurtis Trent, a street punk type of guy who becomes Lara’s ally. Rather than being an asset, though, he came off as the opposite – clunky, unattractive and, well, haphazard. I think they should have left him out completely – especially since Lara could have done all of what he did – even better. He has some “special abilities” and one great weapon, but you don’t control when those assets are used. Unfortunate.

Bosses are supposed to be the hardest, but because of your character’s movement deficiencies (mostly in running and dodging), at least one of them is nearly impossible to kill. (Even though there are PS2 cheats, too bad Eidos didn’t create any for the PC version. A god mode would have been a godsend, pardon the pun.)

Otherwise, it didn’t help that the manual was incomplete, as if it was printed before the interface design was finished. Some of the keyboard keys are not explained at all, or explained incompletely. There are dual uses for several of the keyboard keys of which there is no mention in the manual. (For instance, your Sprint key is used also for “looking around” (sort of a freeze camera), and the “duck down” key is used for exiting some special zoom-in and computer screens.) The manual also mentions an option to turn subtitles on or off. In my game, subtitles were set on permanently and nothing appeared in the options about them.

The Bottom Line
I can’t compare this Tomb Raider with others in the series, because this is my first one. If you’re like me, you’ll find the story engaging enough to hold your interest and keep playing. Alongside practice, patience, persistence and luck, thank the stars for walkthroughs and one saved game, which helped me tremendously, I’ll admit. (Kudos to you, Stella!)

As a game, Angel of Darkness (patched) has more good going for it than bad, in my opinion. It’s worth playing .. period.

Windows · by Jeanne (75331) · 2009

[ View all 5 player reviews ]

Trivia

Copy protection

If you do a full install of the game, you can play it without needing to have the game CD in your CD drive. The game's readme file even explicitly mentions this. This is an unusual display of trust (or perhaps it's just resignation) in today's copyright paranoid times.

Development

Even though the game was developed by a UK company, it suffered numerous delays and release date changes and was eventually released in the UK after the USA.

German version

In the German version, all blood effects were removed.

Movie

Sometimes synergy works, sometimes it doesn't.

When the second Tomb Raider movie had a weak opening at the box office, Paramount studios was quick to point the finger at Angel of Darkness. In an interview with Reuters, Wayne Lewellen (President in charge of Distribution) said:

"The only thing we can attribute that to is that the gamers were not happy with the latest version of the 'Tomb Raider' video game, which is our core audience"

Angel of Darkness came out one month before the movie. Had it been the other way around, perhaps Eidos could have blamed the game's numerous bugs and glitches on the film.

Reception and sales

Core planned to release two more Tomb Raider games based on AOD's engine. However due to it's lukewarm response, Eidos halted the production of the next TR game. In fact, Eidos shocked everyone when they announced that future Tomb Raider games will be developed by Crystal Dynamics, which seemed odd as Lara Croft was seen as a British icon.

Even though AOD received alot of bad press it still managed to sell 1 million copies.

On January 13, 2004 Angel of Darkness (PS2) has won the Gold-Award from the German VUD (Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland - Entertainment Software Association Germany) for selling more then 100,000 (but less then 200,000) units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2003 – Biggest Console Disappointment of the Year (PlayStation 2)
    • 2003 – Biggest PC Disappointment of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2003 – Car Crash of the Year (PC)
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 04/2009 - One of the "10 Most Terrible Sequels" (It omits the challenging jumping sequences but adds stupid level design and introduces useless new features, e.g. the RPG and stealth elements.)
  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2004 - #2 Worst Game of the Year 2003
  • Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland
    • January 13, 2004 - Gold Award (more information in the "Reception and sales" section

Information also contributed by Alan Chan, ClydeFrog, Kartik KHANE, PCGamer77 and Xoleras

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Exodia85.

Windows added by POMAH. Macintosh added by Corn Popper.

Additional contributors: Macintrash, Servo, Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, JRK, Xoleras, Crawly, Zeppin, Klaster_1, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, piltdown_man, Plok.

Game added July 27th, 2003. Last modified August 27th, 2023.