Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation is an action-adventure video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was first released for PlayStation and Microsoft Windows in 1999, then on Dreamcast and Mac OS the following year. It is the fourth instalment in the Tomb Raider series. The narrative follows archaeologist-adventurer Lara Croft as she races to imprison the Egyptian god Set after accidentally setting him free. Gameplay features Lara navigating levels split into multiple areas and room complexes, fighting enemies and solving puzzles to progress.
Reception of the game was generally positive, with many praising it as a return to form, but noting a lack of major innovation. Several critics felt the series was becoming stale. The Dreamcast port was generally criticised for its poor technical performance compared to other platforms. As of 2009, The Last Revelation was the fourth best-selling Tomb Raider title with over five million copies sold worldwide. Eidos insisted the series continue, and two more Tomb Raider titles began production at the same time; Tomb Raider Chronicles for the same platforms as The Last Revelation, and The Angel of Darkness for the next console generation.
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation is an action-adventure video game in which the player assumes the role of archaeologist-adventurer Lara Croft, exploring a series of ancient ruins and tombs in search of ancient artefacts. The levels are split between a mandatory two-level tutorial area set in Cambodia, and the other levels taking place across locations in Egypt. Levels are separated into different zones, and some level areas need to be revisited to progress further into the game. As with earlier Tomb Raider titles, the game is presented from a third person perspective. Key to progress is solving puzzles scattered through the level, which can rely on both pulling different types of switches or finding key items. During some levels, Lara has access to a Jeep and a motorcycle with a sidecar for vehicle sections.
As with previous entries, Lara is controlled through levels using tank controls. In addition Lara can sprint, walk, move certain objects, take manual control of the game camera to look around the area, climb, monkey swing using suitable overhead surfaces, crawl through narrow spaces, roll, and jump across gaps. There are also secret actions such as turning mid-jump, performing swan dives into water, and performing a handstand. In deep bodies of water, Lara can swim around, with a limited amount of breath before she must surface or risk drowning. In shallower water, Lara can only wade at walking pace and jump vertically. In addition to her standard and returning moves, Lara can climb up poles and ropes, swing on ropes to cross gaps or navigate between the floors of a level, use a scope to aim a weapon accurately, and climb around corners. Some environmental elements such as torches can also be interacted with.
The Last Revelation opens with a flashback to a teenage Lara Croft in 1984, when she and her mentor Werner Von Croy are exploring a section of Angkor Wat for an artefact called the Iris. Upon discovering the Iris, Von Croy's haste to retrieve it triggers a trap, forcing Lara to escape without him. In the game's present of late 1999, Lara is in Egypt exploring the Tomb of Set, where the titular god of chaos is said to be imprisoned. She finds the legendary Amulet of Horus within the tomb, and escapes with it after being betrayed by her guide, who is working for Von Croy. Writing on the Amulet reveals that Lara's actions have released Set. Guided by her friend Jean-Yves, Lara explores ruins beneath Karnak and enters the tomb of Semerkhet, human ally to Set's rival Horus.
Production of The Last Revelation began in mid-1998, with development running parallel to Tomb Raider III. By this point, series developer Core Design had produced games annually for publisher Eidos Interactive since completing the original game. This led to both franchise fatigue, and emerging physical and mental health issues among the staff. They were also running out of ideas for keeping the franchise relevant. Since they were being given a large amount of creative freedom by Eidos, the staff secretly decided to kill off Lara and close the series. They formed the plan over a fortnight, and managed to keep it secret until it was too late to make any changes. When Core Design CEO Jeremy Heath-Smith discovered the team's plan, he reprimanded the team. Despite ultimately failing, the team were generally happy to have killed off Lara.
The atmosphere and puzzle design deliberately harkened back to the design principles of the original Tomb Raider. The puzzle elements focused back on the solving of problems rather than exploring large environments for keys as had been happening in earlier sequels. Several elements, such as the UI menus and the opening tutorial level, were entirely redesigned so the game would act as a reintroduction of the character to players. In addition to new moves, Lara's existing moveset and animations were tweaked to be easier for players to activate. The targeting system was improved so Lara would lock into enemies within range and could toggle between them. In addition, the enemy AI was reworked to be more reactive and strategic. Speaking on the companion AI, Sandham remembered it being difficult to program effectively as it was a new feature in gaming at the time. While a multiplayer option was considered, it was rejected due to time and resource limits. A separate tutorial area was similarly removed to reduce workload, with tutorial elements instead incorporated into the opening levels.
While using the same basic engine design as had been used up to Tomb Raider III, the team redesigned and rebuilt it as far as possible, with an estimated 90% of the code being new. The engine redesign allowed the environment to have more 3D architecture and interactive objects within levels than earlier titles, along with more context-sensitive lighting. Lara's model was redesigned to remove the polygonal appearance of earlier instalments as much as possible. She was also given more animation during cutscenes, allowing her to blink and have lip movements when talking. The cutscene design, which had real-time sequences merging into gameplay and \"natural\" zone transitions linking the narrative, was inspired by the cinematic style of Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid.
Previous instalments had first been produced for PlayStation and then ported to PC without any changes. With The Last Revelation a dedicated PC version was developed. As a result, the team could incorporate additional graphical elements and techniques such as bump mapping which were unachievable on the PlayStation hardware. The Tomb Raider series had been exclusive to Sony's PlayStation following an exclusivity deal during production of Tomb Raider II in 1997. With the end of the deal in 1999, Core Design decided to port the game to Sega's new Dreamcast console. The aim was to have the title running at 60 frames per second, and incorporate improved lighting alongside graphical features from the PC version.
The game's music was composed by Peter Connelly, who had previously worked on Tomb Raider III and been credited as \"Additional Sound Effects\". He drew inspiration from the original Tomb Raider scores created by Nathan McCree, in addition to the music of John Williams, Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer. The main theme \"kind of just came to [him]\", with the opening harp motif appearing first. Due to the game's location, Connelly wrote it to have Egyptian-style themes and motifs. He used early level designs and story drafts as inspiration for his themes. Connelly reused a piece he had written for Tomb Raider III, the final boss theme that did not make it onto the disc due to time constraints, in The Last Revelation. The Dreamcast release included an exclusive music track created by British DJ Paul Oakenfold, which played in a bonus art gallery.
The voice of Lara was recast from the earlier game, with Judith Gibbins being replaced by Jonell Elliott. Elliott had an established career in voice over prior to auditioning for the role of Lara. She said that she was fortunate enough to have the voice they were looking for, and her ability to voice Lara as a teenager also helped her land the role. Elliott would voice Lara for the next two titles, with actress Keeley Hawes taking over in 2006.
The first rumours of The Last Revelation emerged in May 1999. The PlayStation version released on 22 November in North America and 3 December in Europe. The PC version was released 24 November in North America, and 3 December in Europe. A \"Millennium Edition\" for the PC version included a limited edition comic from Top Cow Productions's Tomb Raider comic series, a pewter figurine of Lara, and an exclusive collectable card game. The edition was sold through Eidos, Babbage's, Software, Etc. and Electronics Boutique. The PC version was re-released on Steam on 29 November 2012. The Dreamcast version was released on 24 March 2000 in Europe and 25 March in North America. The PlayStation and Dreamcast versions were published in Japan by Capcom on 19 July. A port for Mac OS, developed by Westlake Interactive and published by Aspyr, was released in North America on 12 June.
Eidos promoted The Last Revelation heavily starting in October 1999, allotting a budget of $5 million. Described by Eidos vice president Paul Baldwin as the company's largest marketing campaign to date, it included billboard advertisements in multiple cities, themed products at multiple stores, ads using the Tomb Raider comic, and a demo disc distribution deal with Pizza Hut. As part of