Initial Release: June 2003
Metacritic Score: 49-52 (details)
ESRB/PEGI Rating: Teen/12
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 2. Later: Macintosh, PlayStation 3 and PSP (via PlayStation Network).
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.
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.
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).
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.)
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.
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
Unfinished Training Area
(not part of official release)
Level 1: Parisian Back Streets
Level 2: Derelict Apartment Block
Level 3: Industrial Rooftops
Level 4: Margot Carvier's Apartment
Level 5: Parisian Ghetto
Level 6: The Serpent Rouge
Level 7: St. Aicard's Graveyard
Level 8: Bouchard's Hideout
Level 9: Louvre Storm Drains
Level 10: Louvre Galleries
Level 11: Archaeological Dig
Level 12: Tomb of the Ancients
Level 13: The Hall of Seasons
Level 14: The Breath of Hades
Level 15: Neptune's Hall
Level 16: Sanctuary of the Flame
Level 17: Wrath of the Beast
Level 18: Galleries Under Siege
Level 19: Von Croy's Apartment
Level 20: The Monstrum Crime Scene
Level 21: The Strahov Fortress
Level 22: Bio-Research Facility
Level 23: The Sanitarium
(play as Kurtis)
Level 24: Maximum Containment
Area (play as Kurtis)
Level 25: Aquatic Research Area
Level 26: The Vault of Trophies
Level 27: Boaz Returns
(play as Kurtis)
Level 28: The Lost Domain
Level 29: Eckhardt's Lab
AOD synopsis draws from information provided by the developers. Some screenshots courtesy of Katie's Tomb Raider Site.