Tomb Raider Anniversary Time Trials - Tips & Strategy
In order to unlock the cheat codes for Tomb Raider: Anniversary, you must beat each completed level again in Time Trial mode. (Yes, I know that's completely backwards and stupid, but it's the way the game was designed.)
How to Play a Time Trial: From the Main Menu select Play Game, then Replay Level. Scroll down the list of level names to select the one you want to play. (Note that the lower half of the screen shows your stats for each level, including whether or not you've already completed the time trial and your best time so far.) Once you've chosen the level you want, press Enter (or Select). Under difficulty level, choose Time Trial. You can also choose a new outfit for Lara from among the ones you've unlocked. (See the Anniversary Rewards page for more info on the outfits.) Finally, click Start Game to play.
The goal in Time Trial is to complete the level before the timer at the bottom of the screen runs out. You don't have to obtain artifacts or relics. You don't even have to get every kill or item. Just get from start to finish as fast as you can.
Can You Save During a Time Trial? No, you cannot save as you go along, although the game still saves automatically at each checkpoint and will reload at the last checkpoint if Lara dies.
GENERAL TIPS & STRATEGY
Here are some time trial tips sent in by helpful raiders. Your suggestions are welcome.
- Provided you plan on using cheat codes during other time trials, try to complete the time trials for the Lost Island levels first. That unlocks the Golden Shotgun (one-hit kill) and Silver SMG cheats, which then make the time trials for most of the other levels go much more quickly. (For example, the Golden Shotgun will take down the T. rex with one round.)
- If you have trouble doing these more difficult levels quickly enough, try Egypt (infinite health cheat) or Greece (all weapons). Either of those will be helpful in conquering the other Time Trials.
- Note that you can use multiple cheats at once. Just activate the ones you want from the cheat menu. (See the Cheat Codes page for more info.)
- Don't waste time picking up artifacts, relics or any items you don't need. Only pick up health and ammo that lies directly in your path.
- Avoid enemies unless you have to kill them in order to move on. In many cases, Lara can run away from enemies and they won't follow her very far. This is even easier if you have the infinite health cheat enabled, although certain enemies can still pounce on Lara and impede her progress if you don't get them out of the way.
- If you want to or must kill enemies, try to keep moving in the direction you're already headed, while shooting, rather than running away from an enemy, killing it and then having to cover the same ground again.
- Try to master the focused attack/adrenaline dodge technique early on and use it whenever you can to take down enemies quickly—at least until you get the Golden Shotgun cheat.
- Similarly, don't go out of your way looking for clues to puzzles if it's possible to solve them without the clues. Just make a note of any info you'll need (or keep the walkthrough handy) and quickly solve the puzzles as you come to them. For example, you don't have to actually read the books in Croft Manor to use the information they contain. Also, in the Wii game, the various puzzles involving glyphs and symbols can be solved without first uncovering the clues.
- This one is pretty obvious: Try not to let Lara die. The game reloads at the last checkpoint but the clock is still running. It's usually better to take a few extra seconds setting up a jump than to miss and have to replay a large section of a level.
- There is an exception to the above rule: If you're out of health and there's a good spot for killing Lara right next to a checkpoint, let her die on purpose. The game brings her back to life at the checkpoint with full health. Since the checkpoint is so close, you hardly lose any time.
- Use the Interact key to climb more quickly up or sideways, or to swim faster. For best results, tap Interact in time with Lara's movements.
- When crossing long straight-aways, use running swan dives (i.e., while moving forward press Jump + Roll) to make Lara cover more ground faster. The only time this doesn't work is when going up stairs, as the angle seems to trip Lara up. In that case, rolling is faster than running. (Thanks to Eduard for this tip. Watch his video comparing running, rolling, jumping and swan diving during TRA speed runs here.)
- When running up or down stairs or low ledges, try drawing pistols and jumping instead. This saves time over vaulting up low obstacles.
- When you know there's a cut scene coming, try to sneak in an extra move before you lose control of Lara. For example, where the camera shifts to show what happens when you pull a switch or lever, quickly turn around, jump back, or otherwise try and set Lara up for whatever comes next.
- The interactive cut scenes ("action events" or whatever they're called) are NOT TIMED! Don't worry if you press the wrong button and kill Lara. It'll restart the sequence but the timer isn't affected.
- Most cinematics can be skipped (from the pause menu) but ALWAYS LET THE FINAL CUT SCENES PLAY. If the level does have a cut scene at the end and you exit the level before the last cut scene plays out all the way to the end, the time trial will not count and you'll have to replay it.
- If dramatic music makes you tense, turn off the sound—especially during the boss fights.
- If the pressure of the ticking clock gets to you, tape a slip of paper or a sticky note over the corner of the screen with the timer. (This was suggested by Eldin, who wrote our level-by-level time trial tips, below.)
- Relax and don't worry about doing every sequence perfectly. You'll save time by using other tips and shortcuts, so try not to tense up if you make a mistake. Just recover and go on.
GLITCHES AND BUG EXPLOITS
There are a number of glitches in the game that will enable you to skip entire sections of levels, thus completing the time trials much more quickly. The list of such exploits is extensive, and new discoveries are constantly being added. So I encourage you to search them out on YouTube and the speedrunning site TombRunner.net.
If you prefer not to cheat and want to beat the time trials fair and square, read on....
SPECIFIC TIPS FOR EACH LEVEL
My good friend Eldin has generously shared his time trial tips for each level in the game. I hope you'll find these mini-walkthroughs as helpful as I have.
[Main Anniversary Page]
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