In about six hours, it ends. Can you feel the shift, the weight coming off your shoulders? Just me? Oh well.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation has been one of my longest running LawfulGeek Plays series on The Mental Attic’s YouTube channel. It’s a game I started as part of my goal to go through the entire classic Tomb Raider series in reverse chronological order (and yes, for me, the LAU Trilogy is classic Tomb Raider). I took a bit of a break between playing Chronicles and going for The Last Revelation. I found Chronicles infuriating in many ways, so I needed to detox.

And now that I’ve completed it (or will do so in a few hours), I’m going to take another break from classic Tomb Raider. I’ve found Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation doubly infuriating than the first time I played it and even more than its subpar sequel. Yes, it’s a better overall game compared to Chronicles and The Angel of Darkness, but that really isn’t saying much.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation does a few things right, particularly in its tomb design, but does a lot wrong, such as characterisation of the secondary characters, who really amount to nothing in the grand scheme of things. The game sets up Von Croy as the villain but he lacks any impact and even the big evil lord Seth is a pushover, in both personality and mechanics.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation is also the game where Lara’s weaponry is at its weakest. The pistols do minimal damage and it takes ages to kill anything with them, about four times the number of hits needed with every other weapon, something that is even more ridiculous when you consider the overall scarcity of resources. I like a challenge, but make it a fair one. Secondary weapon effectiveness swings wildly depending on the enemy, with some seemingly taking more damage from one weapon than another. I started to think that Lara only carried rubber bullets when it took me about ten shots to kill a wild dog.

Also, whoever decided that you should have first person aiming in a game without mouse support, we need to have words. If there’s one thing I’ll say for Tomb Raider Chronicles, it’s that it knew that the aiming sucked and used it minimally. In Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation it’s overused.

Enemies are annoying in that they’re all bullet sponges and do insane levels of damage with their attacks, particularly the giant scarab hornet things and the soldiers in the City of the Dead level, with their multi-weapon rifles that whittle your health down to hell. Also, the locust swarms…GRRRRRR the locus swarms!

Some mechanics are dodgy, in particular the ghost and elementals in the Catacombs and Library levels…also known as the levels that made me break my PG-13 rule. I swore for the first time on camera in a Let’s Play during this playthrough, and it happened a couple of times.

At the time of release, critics lauded Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation for its expansive levels and overall design, but I found the game to be the defining moment of Core Design’s decline. It’s overstuffed, trying to do too much at once and the levels are infuriatingly labyrinthine! I can work without signposting, but Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation has illogical level structure. To find out where you need to go you need to explore every corner of the map, until you find the tiny underwater tunnel that leads you to a temple. There is nothing to even remotely point out there is a temple there, which is surprising in a game that makes Lara’s head crane at unnatural angles to indicate points of interest. It signposts some things, but leaves the progress and pacing barren of any hints or clues for players to pick up. It also places important items in nonsensical locations, such as keys to temples in a tourist attraction.

But this isn’t a full review, so excuse the rant!

On Monday, a new series will come in Tomb Raider’s slot: Darksiders.

Will I continue playing these Tomb Raider titles? I only have three to go, true, but their compatibility is an issue. I’ve tried a few times and can’t play the second one, so I’m wondering if it’s worth playing the first if I can’t keep my promise of playing them all. As for Tomb Raider 3, I’ll probably play it, as it promises to be only mildly infuriating compared to the one I just played. At least it won’t have the ropes…

It’s strange. I’ve been a fan of this series for years and I remember playing these games a long time ago, but now their design annoys the hell out of me.

Below you’ll find today’s video. If you can’t see it yet, make sure to come back in a few hours and take a look. I promise it’s a good one!

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