Inside PlayStation Network – Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft

The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.

Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We’ve got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.

Today, we jump, shoot and shimmy our way through the PSOne Classic, Tomb Raider 3: Adventures of Lara Croft.


Developer: Core
Region(s) available: North America, Europe
Players: 1

Lara Croft mania had reached fever pitch upon Tomb Raider 3’s release back in December 1998. After the success of the stonking original and its follow-up TR2, consumer demand for the nimble archaeologist and her exorbitantly big boobs had surpassed even the likes of Mario and Sonic, and PlayStation sales skyrocketed as a result. Still, Core knew they had to inject a little more flare into the proceedings, and as such Adventures of Lara Croft saw some of the most drastic changes to the formula in the series’ history.

TR3 launches Croft on a globe-trotting hunt for the missing pieces of a meteorite for a dodgy Scottish professor known as Dr. Willard. After a jaunt through the Indian jungle that acts as the game’s first major playing field, players can chose where they want to head next – London, Nevada or the South Pacific Islands. At its core, Adventures of Lara Croft plays largely similar to its predecessors, though ditches TR2’s copious combat in favour of the original’s more cerebrally-challenging template by chucking more puzzles and exploration down our throats. There’s still plenty of baddies and beasts to cap though, but it’s not quite as in your face as the game’s predecessor. Stages themselves are vast and intricately designed, though notably incorporate more modern settings, such as London’s Thames Warf, and the Nevada-based Area 51 and High Security Compound.

Fresh to the table this time around is the inclusion of more vehicles such as the Quad Bike and Kayak, as well as a heap of new weapons to play around with. In addition to your bog-standard pistols, Croft also gets her mitts on a MP5, Rocket Launcher, Magnum handgun, as well as series staples such as the Shotgun and Uzis. In terms of manoeuvres, our dexterous adventurer has plenty more fancy acrobatics up her sleeves, including the ability to crouch and shuffle through narrow gaps, as well as the oh-so-handy sprint function (which comes complete with stamina bar) and monkey-swing technique. 

As mentioned, there are plenty of adversaries dotted throughout each level, from gun-wielding goons to the usual assortment of pugnacious wildlife including eagles, baboons, alligators, tigers to the more elaborate Raptors, mutated humans and the obligatory T-Rex. Bosses also show up to close a particular chapter, and can take quite a beating to boot. Elsewhere, TR purists will be pleased to see Core’s thrown in plenty of secrets to unearth, while the save system has players collecting crystals dotted throughout each level that can be utilized any time you wish in order to record your progress. There’s even a hidden level if you managed to bag all the game’s secrets, based on St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Tune in again same time tomorrow for another poke around Inside PlayStation Network.