Tomb Raider 2 Trivia

Overview

Tomb Raider II: The Dagger of Xian is a video game in the Tomb Raider series, and is the sequel to Tomb Raider. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive, and was originally released for PC and PlayStation in 1997. Once again, the storyline follows the adventures of archeologist Lara Croft, as she travels the world in search of an artifact called the Dagger of Xian.

Features

The gameplay of Tomb Raider II builds upon the basic set up of the original game. For a detailed discussion of its features, see Tomb Raider. New in Tomb Raider II however, are an expanded range of weapons, extra moves, a small set of vehicles, larger levels and many enemies.

Moving around through each level has remained unchanged. Lara can still jump, grab ledges and push and pull blocks. New to Tomb Raider II is the ability to climb and a mid-air roll used to land in the opposite direction of which the player was facing. Ammo and medpacks are the staple of Lara's inventory, but this time flares have been added to her equipment, which are used to light up dark corners. When Lara lights a flare, she can either grab hold of it and run around using it as a torch, or throw it away to illuminate deep pits.

By default, Lara still carries her pistols, equipped with infinite ammo. The shotgun and the dual wielded uzi guns are also present. The magnums from the first game have been changed to automatic pistols. New are the M16 rifle, which requires Lara to assume an aiming stance to fire, the harpoon gun to be used underwater, and the grenade launcher, the most powerful weapon in the game.

Vehicles include a motorboat (in Venice) and a snow scooter (in Tibet). Both are used to travel long distances across the map and can speed up on ramps or run over enemies. The snow scooter comes in two types: a regular model and one armed with small machine guns.

For Tomb Raider II, Lara's appearance was given a make-over by the designers, giving her a free flowing pony tail, a smoother appearance, and several new outfits. In China and Venice, she dons her familiar Tomb Raider outfit; in the ocean levels she is bare-foot and wears a wetsuit; and in Tibet, Lara wears a flight jacket over her top.

The object of the game remains unchanged from the previous game. Each level must be finished by solving various puzzles, collecting key items and performing difficult jumps. However, this time there is an emphasis on gunfighting and the killing of human opponents as well. Secrets no longer immediately reward the player with weapons or medpacks. Instead, each secret is marked by a colored dragon: green, silver and gold, according to the difficulty of their location. Only when Lara has collected each of these dragons in a level will she receive a bonus.

Development history

Development of Tomb Raider II was already in its conceptual stages even before the first game was released. By the time Core was wrapping up Tomb Raider, many more ideas and suggestions had been put forth, some of which could be incorporated in the first game, others which would shape up to become the next installment of the series.

While several key members of Core Design had left (most notably Lara's creator Toby Gard), the design team for Tomb Raider II was drastically expanded to more than twice of its original size. Subsequently, the game took a shorter amount of time to develop than its predecessor. The decision to keep the engine from Tomb Raider was made early on, adopting a tweak-and-improve approach, rather than starting over from scratch. Minor camera issues and object glitches were fixed, while new features were added, such as dynamic lighting and a more flexible control system. Core Design used a custom built level editor that let them explore each stage as it was being created. This allowed the designers to test play levels on the fly and eliminate glitches.

Reception and legacy

As one of the most hotly anticipated games of 1997, Tomb Raider II was an immediate commercial success, surpassing the sales of Tomb Raider with ease. The game was met with near universal approval and received perfect marks from several gaming magazines. Of particular praise were Tomb Raider II's improved graphics, the use of vehicles to add variety to gameplay and the more action oriented objectives.

Nonetheless, the high level of violence was also criticized, as well as the general lack of reverence and atmosphere that made the original game such a success.

At time of the release of Tomb Raider II, Lara was arguably at the height of her fame. A third installment in the series was inevitable and by the winter of 1998 Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft was released. Talks for a screen adaptation were in progress, Lara Croft featured prominently in several SEAT and Lucozade commercials and U2 famously used her image as a pop icon on their 1997 Popmart Tour.

Interesting Facts

  • References to Indiana Jones are numerous throughout Tomb Raider II, most notably by the use of locations from Raiders of the Lost Ark (Himalayas) and The Last Crusade (Venice).
  • The level design of the wreck of the Maria Doria (itself named after the real ship SS Andrea Doria) reveals that at least part of the ship was turned upside down when it sank, referencing the movie The Poseidon Adventure.
  • Judith Gibbons replaced Shelley Blond as the voice of Lara for Tomb Raider II.

Source: Wikipedia