Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness

Initial Release: June 2003

Metacritic Score: 49-52 (details)

ESRB/PEGI Rating: Teen/12

Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 2, Macintosh.

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Lara's experiences following the events in The Last Revelation  have changed her. She has become darker, harder, more cynical, and her tomb raiding days are a distant memory. A desperate phone call from her former mentor, Von Croy, leads her to Paris. Von Croy has been asked by a shady client, Eckhardt, to track down one of five 14th-century artworks: the Obscura Paintings. She arrives in Paris to find a city in fear. Von Croy has been murdered and Lara framed for the crime. She has no choice but to go on the run.

As she searches for answers, Lara encounters a kindred spirit in Kurtis Trent, a hardened adventurer like herself, who is also hunting Eckhardt. In her struggle to find Von Croy's killer, Lara becomes involved in underworld deals, grotesque murders, dark alchemy and a history of blood, betrayal and vengeance spanning hundreds of years.

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness cinematic

The Angel of Darkness  was released in mid-2003, two and a half years after Chronicles. For critics, as well as many fans, it signaled the end of an era. Although the game was fraught with technical problems, and some players took issue with the sinister turn the plotline took, AOD is not without its supporters. It's clear the developers took some risks, tried to build in some new features and tell a complicated story. They succeeded in some areas but failed in others.

The Angel of Darkness  was the first part in a planned trilogy which was never completed. According to inside sources, the game was rushed to market in order to meet shareholder expectations. Its unfinished state led to poor critical reception, and the trilogy was canceled. You can read more about the expanded storyline, features that were left out of the game due to time constraints, and the goings-on at Core Design on the Kurtis Trent Estrogen Brigade site.

Angel of Darkness Screenshots

What's New Since TR5: Lots, actually. Overall the graphics are much improved. Scenery is less blocky and there are plenty of lovely things to look at. Lara's character model is much more detailed, smoother and more realistic than before. The control system has also been revamped—though not necessarily for the better. There are a few new moves and modified mouse-look, which unfortunately doesn't always function as it should. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. If you need help, check the Controls & Gameplay page.

Other new features include a second playable character, a limited dialogue system and ability upgrades for Lara. These seem like great ideas but weren't all that well executed. During several levels you play as Lara's new partner/rival, Kurtis Trent, which is refreshing at first but becomes frustrating during certain boss battles, where Kurtis handles like a tank compared to Lara's APC. ;) In the dialogue segments, Lara's interactions with non-player characters affect the course of the plot only in very limited ways. The concept of ability upgrades, as done in countless role-playing games, is solid: complete tasks to get better, stronger, faster. But in Angel of Darkness, the tasks seem arbitrary rather than evolutionary. Lara gains only upper- and lower-body strength, no actual skills.

Still, there are many interesting twists in this game. I wouldn't suggest that any fan pass it by, but I do recommend you be aware of its flaws before diving in, and expect to struggle at times (or plan to download save files to skip the more frustrating bits).

Angel of Darkness Screenshots

Saving Your Game: Unlimited saves on all platforms. (PC and Macintosh savegame files are available in case you make a bad save, want to skip a level, etc.)

Secrets: None.

Bonus Levels: None. However, there is an unfinished training area in the first level that can be accessed by cheating or exploiting glitches in the game. This page explains how.

Classic Tomb Raider Games on New Systems: This game was designed for Windows XP. I do recommend installing the Windows XP patches on the TRAOD Downloads page if you still have that operating system. For Windows Vista, 7 or 8, install as usual. Then use the appropriate Tomb Raider Multi Patch from tombraiderchronicles.com.

Updated versions for PC that require no patching are available for download from GOG.com and Steam.

Angel of Darkness screenshots

Becoming an Expert Raider

Even if you've played all of the previous games, the controls and inventory system are largely revamped in Angel of Darkness. So I encourage you to check out the Angel of Darkness Controls & Gameplay page. It includes pointers on moving Lara through her environment, conserving health and ammo, using the menu and inventory systems, and more.



Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness Walkthrough

AOD synopsis draws from information provided by the developers. Some screenshots courtesy of Katie's Tomb Raider Site.