Tomb Raider Underworld

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Tomb Raider Underworld
Underworld.jpg
Tomb Raider 8
Release Date November 2008
Platforms PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PS2, Wii, Nintendo DS, Mobile
Number of Levels 21
Secrets 185
Developer Crystal Dynamics
Publisher Eidos Interactive
Rating PEGI 16+
Add-On:
[[Beneath the Ashes, Lara's Shadow]]
Game Chronology:
Tomb Raider Anniversary Tomb Raider Underworld Tomb Raider (2013)


Tomb Raider Underworld continues the story of Tomb Raider Legend. Tomb Raider Underworld sees Lara descending to the depths of a Norse-themed underworld.


Contents

Release Dates & Platforms

Tomb Raider Underworld has been released on November 18th (North America) or 21st (Europe) 2008 for PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS, with the PS2 version following in January 2009.


Levels

  • Prologue
  • Mediterranean
  • Coastal Thailand
  • Croft Manor
  • Southern Mexico
  • Jan Mayen Island
  • Andaman Sea
  • Arctic Sea

Development Process

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.

Keeley Hawes provides the voice of Lara in this installment, as she did in Anniversary and Legend.

Lara's costume has been 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.

A teaser trailer was released on 19 July 2008, displaying a chronologically backwards video of Croft Manor being destroyed. The trailer starts zoomed in on her signature weapons: her twin pistols, which are covered in ash and lying on Zip's computer desk. As the camera reverses out, it displays parts of the main hall covered in debris and ash. The camera continues to reverse out, flying through the main window of the hall, with the pieces of glass flying back into place, finally reversing far enough to show Lara facing the house with her back to the camera. As the camera stops, time starts again, with rain and rolling thunder surrounding Lara and the mansion. Lara turns towards the camera with a cold look on her face and she presses the trigger - blowing up Croft Manor. Lara walks off the side of the camera, and the final shot shows Croft Mansion burning.

A gameplay trailer was released on 15 August 2008. It features Lara in various locations - Mexico, Thailand and what appears to be her own manor as it burns down. In the trailer, Zip shoots at Lara with a gun, Lara then draws her pistols and shouts "Drop it Zip or I'll drop you". At the climax of the trailer, Lara walks into a laboratory-like room as the screen turns to black, and then Natla's voice is heard saying "I'm very pleased to see you again, Lara", before the final release date screen shows.


Gameplay

Differences from previous iterations in the series are that Lara's environment are an "interactive world that reacts and remembers". Such as 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.

Lara now has tons of new moves, including new combat or climbing methods and fancy moves. Lara now: [1]

  • Melee combats (punches, knees, kicks, grapple pulls)
  • Uses sticky grenades on still or moving targets
  • Shoots split targets, even on perch
  • Performs an Adrenaline shot
  • Can exert force using the grapple
  • Uses poles as a weapon, slot into walls, climb on, swing on or balance on
  • Mantles onto ledges
  • Wall kicks, even on perch
  • Free climbs on concave and convex surfaces
  • Balances on beams and ledges, but will slip off when wet
  • Front flips on narrow beams
  • Can ledge hop - Lara can hop from one part to the next, in a zig zag form.
  • Can shimmy on ledges and around corners smoothly
  • Runs with picked up objects
  • Glances at killed enemies as she goes by
  • Pushes branches out of her way
  • Has different stances when running with picked up objects
  • Sprints
  • Has a new reach move
  • Player Tailoring
  • Can throw heavy objects
  • Can react to heat from flames and steam from pipes

Exclusive Wii Features

  • Built specifically for the Wii: Level design and environmental challenges are designed to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the Wii Remote and Nunchuck.
  • Exclusive Multi-Tool: Excavate hidden secrets with this modernized and expanded tool kit that includes:
  • Compressed Air Gun: A high-powered instrument used to clear away dirt or silt.
  • Acetylene Torch: An advanced, multi-purpose torch used to weld metal objects, set fire to objects, and melt ice.
  • Chisel: Pry apart objects or chip away sediment in order to discover hidden secrets.
  • Pliers: Extract elements from ancient devices.
  • Exclusive Active Aim Combat System: The combat system has been enhanced for more fluid character control and more precise aiming with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
  • Expanded Camera Control: Take more control of the camera using the Wii Remote. If the Wii Remote is not pointed at the screen, the camera will follow Lara automatically. If it is pointed at the screen, the game will enter a “free look” mode.

Demo

Eidos has released a Tomb Raider Underworld Demo for PC and Xbox 360. The demo contains the first half of the Thailand section; the full Remnants level as well as parts of Bhogavati.

Story

Underworld continues where Tomb Raider Legend left off. Lara searches various locations around the world, initially to find the Celtic paradise of Avalon, but soon finds a deeper thread of monomyth theory running through the ruins she explores, starting with a ruin covered in proto-Norse runes underneath the Mediterranean Sea.

She soon meets Jacqueline Natla, the Atlantean God-Queen who was the antagonist in both the original Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider Anniversary. She is the prisoner of Amanda Evert, the main antagonist of Tomb Raider Legend. Natla tells Lara that Avalon is in fact Helheim, the Norse underworld, and that this is where her mother went to after the events in Nepal when Lara was a young girl. She directs her next to a coastal temple in Thailand.

In due course, Lara learns that her father was actually employed by Natla, but became wary of the artifacts that she was trying to locate. He removed evidence of the location of Megingjörd, Thor's Belt, and kept the artefacts recovered from Thailand in the crypts and cellars of Croft Manor.

Lara explores the passages underneath her home and discovers the location of the belt, but a Atlantean Lara Copy, similar to that seen in the original Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider Anniversary, destroys her home and attacks her companions. Lara then goes to Mexico to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, where she recovers the belt and also finds out about a mysterious substance closely linked to the Norse ruins and the legend of Thor called Eitr.

Travelling next to Jan Mayen Island, Lara finally recovers Mjolnir, Thor's Hammer. She goes next to the Andaman Sea in order to question Natla more closely about the location of Helheim, and ends up freeing her, as they agree to meet at a location in the Arctic Sea.

Underneath the sea ice lies a large ruin similar in design to the Atlantean ones in Tomb Raider Anniversary. Here Lara discovers Natla's true intentions, the real meaning of the 'Seventh Age' and saves the world once again, all the while questioning what became of her mother, Amelia Croft.

Alternate/Extended Ending

A video which surfaced online in January 2009, allegedly extracted from the Playstation 2 game files, revealed an alternative extended ending to Tomb Raider Underworld. In it, Amanda Evert attempts to attack Lara with a boulder after they have left the Nepalese temple. Lara turns and shoots Amanda in the leg, before walking away, leaving her helpless and immobile.

Locations


Traps and Obstacles

  • Tightrope - Lara can balance on tightropes, monkey climb along them and mount them.
  • Columns - these are beams Lara has to balance on to get across.
  • Poles - these are poles that are vertical that she either has to pole climb, hop on or to use as a weapon.
  • Collapsing ledges - these are areas of a ledge that will collapse, causing Lara to fall if she does not manoeuvre quickly around them.
  • Fire - blazing hot to touch.
  • Jormungandr's Pool of Poison - full of Eitr, a blue, deadly liquid that the Midgard Serpent "spews into the air".


Artifacts


Gear


Weapons

Outfits

As in Tomb Raider Legend and Anniversary Lara will have numerous outfits at her disposal. Below is a list of all outfits in-game, plus the unlockable bathing suit outfit and Xbox 360 downloadable content.

In-Game Outfits

Exclusive Xbox 360 Outfits

Several exclusive outfits are available for download via Xbox Live Marketplace.

Six more outfits were released with Beneath the Ashes:

In Lara's Shadow one could play Lara's Doppelgänger in her outfit:


Vehicles

Lara will be able to drive her motorbike as part of the Mexico and Arctic levels. She will also make use of her yacht in cinematics.

  • Motorbike - An all-terrain hybrid motorbike, a unique vehicle design built to drive on everything from mud to snow and ice. (The Wii version will support steering wheels for exclusive motorbike sequences.)
  • Yacht - Lara's private yacht is seen and can be explored as part of the Mediterranean and Thailand levels. [14][15]


Characters and Enemies

Characters


Enemies

The number of human opponents is less than the number of animals in the game.

  • Animals
  • Monsters, Mutants and Mythical Creatures
  • Humans

Unlockables

  • Treasure Hunt Mode
  • Unlockable Bathing Suit (only available in the latter mode)
  • Storyboards [16]
  • Character Biographies
  • Concept Art
  • Previously on Tomb Raider
Unlocked from the start, a compilation video showing key scenes from previous games can be found in the Main Menu. Select EXTRAS, and then select TRAILERS AND CREDITS, and then choose 'Previously...'. [17]


Downloadable Content for the Xbox 360

There are two levels associated with Tomb Raider Underworld available for the Xbox 360: Beneath the Ashes and Lara's Shadow. (These levels were probably rejected in their original versions and as a result omitted from the main game. [18])

Lara finds a document from her father revealing another artifact lying under her manor. Travelling back to Croft Manor, Lara digs beneath the ashes that remain and find torture rooms, crypts, and catacombs that she never would have guessed could be there. Gamers can choose from six new outfits for Lara, available in Underworld's main story once downloaded. Beneath the Ashes became available on the Xbox Live Marketplace on Tuesday, February 24, 2009.
Taking on the role of Lara's deadly Lara's Doppelgänger, players get to experience all new gameplay in the Tomb Raider universe. With new abilities, the Doppelgänger must fulfil her ultimate assignment; to put an end to the Croft lineage once and for all. Lara's Shadow became available on the Xbox Live Marketplace on Tuesday, March 10, 2009.
Now available at the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace.

Special Editions

Limited Edition

A limited edition of the game is planned to come out in the UK, Australia and Scandinavia on November 21st and December 4th 2008. This version will include 15 minute Beneath the Surface Video with exclusive interview footage, 10 soundtracks from the game including previously unreleased music, all the trailers and videos released up until this point, art gallery (the best screens, concept art and all the promotional renders) and special pack artwork. [19] [20]

Australian Ultimate Fan Pack

EB Games in Australia is selling their own collector's edition of Underworld for $179.95, called the Ultimate Fan Pack. It's available for preorder on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, and will be released upon the game's release on December 4th 2008. [21]

The pack includes the following collectible items:

  • Tomb Raider: Underworld game
  • Lara Croft figurine
  • 2009 Lara Croft calendar
  • Tomb Raider T-shirt
  • Trucker cap
  • Messenger bag
  • Collectible packaging

The Art of Tomb Raider Underworld Bonus Item

Art of TR Underworld

GameStop (previously known as EB Games) in the United States of America is giving an exclusive “The Art of Tomb Raider: Underworld” art book when you purchase Tomb Raider Underworld for all consoles on November 18 2008. Showcasing the evolution of Lara Croft, and stunning artwork from the game, this bonus offer reveals a glimpse into the ever-expanding mysteries of Tomb Raider. [22]

Featuring a foreword by the creative director, Eric Lindstrom titled 'Where is Lara Going Next' whets your appetite for the future that is Tomb Raider and Lara Croft. The book also includes the Evolution of Lara Croft, showing a render of Lara from every game in the past and present, concept art of Lara and the outfits of the game, renders of the latter, concepts of friends and foes, renders of the latter, a coupon for $5 off the official strategy guide, and a preview of 'The Complete Art of Tomb Raider' which is set to release in Spring 2009 that features every significant piece of Tomb Raider art collected and presented in over hundreds of beautiful pages. You get to see the first sketches of Lara Croft, unreleased concept art, storyboards, and promotional art while gaining fascinating insights into the design and visualizations of the games.

System Requirements

  • Windows Vista/XP
  • 3+ GHz Intel or 2.5 GHz AMD
  • 1 Gb RAM (XP)/2 Gb RAM (Vista)
  • 7 Gb free hard drive space
  • nVidia 6000+/ATI X1600+
  • 256 Mb memory Shader Model 3
  • DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card and drivers

See also


Links

Walkthroughs


References

  1. Eidos press release
  2. PlayStation Official Magazine - UK Issue 020 July 2008
  3. Eidos Press Release July 15th
  4. Gamestar 03/2008 page 52
  5. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/c2fb077ba3f9b33980256b4f002da32c/e021646b2c11736d802574c5003dabd2?OpenDocument
  6. play, January 2008
  7. Computerbild Spiele (German computer games magazine), issue 2/2008
  8. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/c2fb077ba3f9b33980256b4f002da32c/e021646b2c11736d802574c5003dabd2?OpenDocument
  9. http://www.bbfc.co.uk/website/Classified.nsf/c2fb077ba3f9b33980256b4f002da32c/e021646b2c11736d802574c5003dabd2?OpenDocument
  10. Eidos Press Release July 15th
  11. play, January 2008
  12. Computerbild Spiele (German computer games magazine), issue 2/2008
  13. Gameplay Trailer from August 08
  14. PlayStation Official Magazine - UK Issue 020 July 2008
  15. Gamescovention gameplay trailer
  16. http://www.tombraidergirl.com/tr8/articles07.php Retrieved on 9th July 2008
  17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARe4on9__DM
  18. http://wikiraider.com/index.php/The_%E2%80%9CEric_Lindstr%C3%B6m%E2%80%9D_posts
  19. Press mail from Eidos; http://www.game.co.uk/search.aspx?platform=*&s=tomb+raider+underworld&sort=itemOrderasc&page=2
  20. http://www.ebgames.com.au/PS3/product.cfm?ID=13425
  21. http://www.ebgames.com.au/PS3/product.cfm?ID=13378
  22. http://www.gamestop.com/Catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?product_id=68944


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