Initial Release: June 2007
Metacritic Score: 73-83 (details)
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 2, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii. Later: Mac OS X, PS3 as part of the TR Trilogy. (Separate version for mobile phones.)
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Anniversary's plot ties together the events of the original game and Lara's quest to rescue her mother, introduced in Tomb Raider: Legend. As in TR1, Lara is searching for the Scion, a mystical artifact said to originate on the lost continent of Atlantis. But now she's not just playing for sport. She believes the Scion to be a repository of ancient knowledge that can help solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance.
Certain plot elements from the first game have been tweaked a bit to tie in the Legend/Avalon storyline, and Anniversary Lara is a far more sentimental creature than the hard-edged heroine of the classic games. However, many fans appreciated the developers' attempt to give Lara some motivation for her actions beyond just the thrill of the chase. Now her pursuit of the Scion—at all costs—is a matter of life and death, and Lara's struggles are not only physical but emotional and moral as well.
Levels & Locations: As in the original game, Lara's search for the Scion leads her to a series of ruins around the world: first Peru, then Greece, then Egypt. Her quest culminates on a "Lost Island"—possibly Atlantis.
Weapons & Gear: Lara begins the game with her trusty pistols and picks up additional weapons as the game progresses. Whereas Legend only allowed players to keep one secondary weapon at a time, Anniversary includes a shotgun, 50-caliber pistols (similar to the magnums in TR1) and mini-SMGs (similar to the Uzis). Lara can pick up and carry an unlimited number of small and large medipaks, but the ammo supply for each alternate weapon is capped.
The grapple is back. In addition to pulling objects and swinging from ledge to ledge, Lara can use it to wall run à la Prince of Persia, enabling her to get to otherwise unreachable places.
The Nintendo Wii version also includes a flashlight, accessible throughout the game, as well as archaeological tools, such as a pickaxe, trowel and brush, that can only be used in designated puzzle areas.
Vehicles: None. In a few of the cinematics Lara travels by motorcycle, as she did in the original game, but players don't control the bike.
Saving Your Game: All versions have autosave checkpoints throughout each level. You can save manually at any time; however, when Lara dies, or you reload a save you've made, the game resumes at the previous checkpoint. (See Controls & Gameplay.) Save files are available for Windows, Macintosh and Wii (along with a limited number of PSP saves) in case you make a bad save, get stuck, etc.
Rewards & Unlockable Content: The reward system is similar to the one in Legend. Here, the secret items are quite sensibly called Artifacts and Relics. The rarer relics, like the Whale Bottle shown below right, each have names and come with a little description of their provenance. Most artifacts and relics are hidden in obscure places; a few are in plain sight but require some creativity to obtain. Finding them unlocks various goodies, including outfits for Lara, character bios and production artwork—including some fun comparisons between the 1996 and 2007 games.
The Nintendo Wii game also includes rubbing rewards. There are a dozen such rewards hidden throughout the game. To collect them, first locate certain carved images that can be copied using virtual paper and charcoal. Once you've created these images, they are then placed on display in a special area in Croft Manor.
Perhaps the best new feature—at least for us old-school raiders—are the unlockable designers' commentaries. Like the special features on a movie DVD, these are audio commentaries recorded by the game's Creative Director Jason Botta and Story/Consultant Designer Toby Gard. Often they'll talk about the intent behind the layout of certain areas or the mechanics of certain puzzles, as well as the similarities and differences between the original game and Anniversary. Follow this link for complete commentary transcripts.
Bonus Levels: None. (There is an unlockable test level called "Style Units" but this is not a playable level in the usual sense. It merely showcases various design elements. See Rewards.)
Cheat Codes: Cheats can only be unlocked after completing the game. They can still be used when playing time trials, but that's no consolation if you happen get stuck somewhere along the line. (See Tomb Raider: Anniversary Cheats.)
Please refer to the Anniversary Rewards page for more info about all of these unlockable bonuses.
Costumes, Skins & Modding: There are 10 alternate outfits or skins you can unlock while playing the game. These are pictured on the Anniversary Outfits page. Details on unlocking each one are covered under Rewards.
Players can also download and create their own custom outfits using various texture editing tools. I don't cover modding on this site, but Tomb Raider HUB and tombraiderforums.com are good places to start.
Xbox 360 Achievements & PlayStation 3 Trophies: Some achievements and trophies are covered in the walkthrough; some are not. Follow these links for printable achievement and trophy checklists and links to sites with achievement/trophy help.
Becoming an Expert Raider
Controls in Anniversary are very similar to Legend but quite different from the classic games. I encourage you to check out the Controls & Gameplay page. It includes pointers on moving Lara through her environment, controlling the camera, conserving health and ammo, using the menu and inventory systems, saving the game, and more.
Tomb Raider: Anniversary Walkthrough
This walkthrough applies to the PC and all console versions of the game. There is a separate walkthrough for the mobile phone game.