Peter Connelly
The Last Revelation


3.0
good

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
December 20th, 2023 | 0 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


Way back in the day, at the height of her popularity, during Lara’s tenure at Core Design, I was a massive fan of the Tomb Raider franchise. Tomb Raider’s 1-4, Chronicles, and yes, even The Angel of Darkness, were played to death by me in my formative years. However, with the astronomical failure of The Angel of Darkness and the mismanagement that occurred with that project, the franchise was taken off Core Design, before their subsequent demise, and given to Crystal Dynamics. It’s at this point where I began to lose interest in the series, as they lost a distinct quality to them: they were more linear, forgiving and accessible, but ultimately, they went in a direction that didn’t interest me – my opinion intensifies with the current string of, frankly, crappy prequel games that have followed in the last decade since, but I digress. So, before 2023, I hadn’t gone back to the classics since, probably, 2005. However, this year saw AOD getting a partial, fan-made remaster patch for PC – with overhauled controls, textures and cut content – prompting me to go back and play it again. This soon spiralled into me checking out the original five games, where the obsession quickly began to manifest itself again. Simply put, these games have held up like fine wine; the tank controls still make the games extremely playable, and the level design for the most part is exceptional. But, despite the obvious functionality, the real pleasure in going back to these games as an adult is fully appreciating just how creative and ahead of the curve they were. It’s not too controversial to say these games – particularly Tomb Raider III, which is unapologetically and infamously hard as nails – use the same fertile ground From Software’s Souls franchise, and its ilk, would later use. More surprising was the fact these games are essentially horror-driven nightmares, filled with body horror and the supernatural, all enshrined in an oppressive atmosphere, an aspect completely overlooked or forgotten about when I was a kid.

The biggest surprise, however, comes from The Last Revelation – a game a little too complex for me to comprehend or complete back in 1999, with its Metroidvania level design, and the developer’s inability to properly showcase the game’s many new mechanics and additions in order for the player to progress. Going back to it now though, it’s easily the best game from the classics – heavily story-driven, filled with lots of well-implemented gameplay mechanics (when you get your head around them), and an awesome graphical style and atmosphere set in new-millennium Egypt, it’s easy to see why fans hail it as Tomb Raider’s crowning achievement. This, of course, is bolstered with the series’ new composer, Peter Connelly, who would go on to write the score for Chronicles, as well as co-write the exceptional AOD soundtrack with Martin Iveson. Connelly’s poignant, sometimes cheeky interpretation of the iconic score is an excellent fit for the game, where Lara Croft ostensibly dies at the end. The lavish, beautiful orchestral arrangements on “The Last Revelation Theme”, the foreboding horror of “Incidental Mysterious 1-7”, the 90’s dance-driven “Jeep Thrills”, and “Egyptian Mood 2”, which pays homage to the overall themes of Egyptian culture, provide a tapestry for the game to capture the right mood where it’s needed. And indeed, while all of this is excellent stuff, the score as a standalone product doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny in its current form.

What I mean by this is the album doesn’t have any flow to it; it feels like a sequence of cobbled together samples, all cut and pasted into one umbrella. While you have “The Last Revelation Theme”, and to a lesser extent “FMV Intro” feeling like fully-formed tracks, the rest of the record is a jarring mesh of short samples – some only touching eight seconds! Being generous, like I touched on earlier, you could class “Incidental Mysterious 1-7” as one whole, because it feels fairly consistent in sequence and tone, but even then, you’re still subjected to frequent fade outs, as most tracks sit at approx. 20 seconds in length. Even the longer tracks like “Jeep Thrills” and “Boss 2” fall victim to the dreaded fade out, instead of having a worthwhile resolve. Overall, this is one of those records – in its current state at least – that doesn’t translate well on its own. It’s not that the material isn’t strong enough to stand on its own two legs either, but with the way it has been pieced together, it lets the whole experience feel a little limp and out of sorts.



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