Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is the sixth video game in the Tomb Raider series, acting as a direct sequel to Tomb Raider Chronicles and The Last Revelation. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive and was released for the PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows in June 2003.
Why it Sucks
- Terrible and dated controls. The game came out in June 2003, so why does a "walk" button still exist here?
- Horrible camera.
- Nigh impossible jumping and platforming because of the above factors.
- Tedious and repetitive combat.
- Flat and half-assed voice acting; having voiced Lara in the last two games, we know that Jonell Elliott can do better than this!
- The game isn't as optimized as it should be, as it suffers from numerous frame drops at various points.
- Multiple bugs and glitches.
- The lack of checkpoints, and even an autosave feature. Again, this came out in 2003. To add insult to injury, the game never prompts you to save your game. Even Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 prompted you to save upon finishing a level.
- Poor enemy AI. In stealth, you can walk right up to an enemy to the point where you are touching them, and they won't even react.
- A strength upgrade system that feels rather mundane. We know Lara to be an acrobatic and physically strong character, so why does she need to gain strength to shimmy along the rooftops?
- Multiple stealth segments which feel like an unnecessary addition to the game, since Tomb Raider was never about stealth.
- False Advertising: The cover shows Lara holding her Duel Pistols, but in the actual game the only way to get them is either by Gameshark for the PS2 version, or a Patch if you're using the PC version.
- Features a dialogue choice system, but the choices have minimal impact on the story.
- Because of the aforementioned bad controls and dated save system, the gameplay as a whole feels like a PS One game with PS2 graphics. In other words, the gameplay feels very dated.
- Core Design, in their infinite wisdom, blamed the game's poor performance on the Tomb Raider film that was out at the time (The Cradle of Life), which sounds like finger-pointing, especially considering that Cradle of Life came out over a month after the game. There are some reports that Eidos pressured Core Design into releasing the game without proper bug testing so that it would tie in with the film's release, but even so, much of the game is so badly designed that no amount of extra bug testing would have saved it.
- Very interesting and engaging plot. The game's tone is a lot darker and grittier compared to previous entries in the series, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
- Amazing, smooth and detailed graphics. As always, Lara herself looks great.
- Good soundtrack, courtesy of Peter Connelly, who composed the score for the previous three Tomb Raider titles, and later Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs and The Crew.
- The mechanics that were experimented with in this game, however poorly they were done, would later become more commonplace in the gaming market.
The game received mixed to negative reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100, the game received an average score of 52 and 49 for the PlayStation 2 and Windows version, respectively. In the aftermath of the game's release and poor reception, a potential trilogy was scrapped. Eidos Interactive took the development rights away from Core Design and assigned them to Crystal Dynamics, who is known for creating the Gex series. The Angel of Darkness was so poorly received, the Tomb Raider series was rebooted in 2006 with the first entry developed by Crystal Dynamics, titled Tomb Raider: Legend.
In 2010, GameTrailers placed the game 5th in their "Top 10 Worst Sequels" list. Gaming Youtuber, The Retro Replay, gave Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness his "Bubsy 3D" rating, attributing the fact that it killed off the original continuity of Tomb Raider and almost the entire franchise as the reason for giving it that rating.