June 1, 2013

30-Day Angel of Darkness Challenge Day 1: First Impressions?

Welcome to June 2013 and the 10th anniversary of Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness! That's right. This wonderful though much-maligned video game was released June 20, 2003. Since June conveniently has 30 days, I thought it would be perfect for another 30-Day Tomb Raider Challenge.

This time, I'm copying shamelessly from one of my favorite Tumblr blogs, F- Yeah TRAOD! If you enjoy the challenge and/or the game, I encourage you to follow this blog and show its creator a little appreciation. You won't be disappointed.

Now on to the first challenge question: When did you first play AoD and what were your initial thoughts about it? Please post a comment below or, if you're doing the challenge on Tumblr, post a link to your response for today.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

If you've come late to this challenge, feel free to answer any of the questions that interest you. There's no time limit. And if you'd like to participate in past challenges, you're welcome to do that too. Check out the September 2011 and September 2012 challenges in the archives.


  1. I first played Angel of Darkness when it came out in 2003. There'd been a lot of hype leading up to the game, but also a lot of trepidation among fans, since some of the reviews had been pretty dismal.

    My initial impressions were just about equal parts adoration and frustration. I thought it had an awesome, edgy look, and Jonell Elliott's voice acting was spot on. I love her angry, snarky Lara. The controls were another story though--from barely adequate to hair-pullingly frustrating at times. It's "advanced" graphics (for the day) taxed my aging PC to its limits.

    This was the only TR game I've EVER had to cheat to beat. During a couple of the underwater sequences, as well as the Boaz boss fight, my computer started chugging and I couldn't control Lara or Kurtis. There were also a few places where the game crashed and I couldn't continue. Fortunately a friend sent me his save files so I could move on. Talk about embarrassing...and frustrating!

    Since then I've gotten several new PCs and beaten the game several times, but that first run was a trial. That said, it's still among my favorite Tomb Raider games. There's so much to love, and I will go into further detail in the next 29 days. :D

  2. I agree with you, Stella. I'm really fond of this game, and I loved the graphics, Lara's "darker" and more ironic persona, the story and the overall development of the characters. However, the numerous bugs, glitches and terrible controls prevented it from becoming the great game it should have been. It's still one of my favourites TR games, though. :)

  3. Well, I first played AoD right on the christmas night, when I recieved it as a Christmas present, in 2003. That was the most magical Xmas night for me.
    My initial impressions were that the game looked absolutely great. Although I was a bit confused about what to do in the 1st level... I first tested it in my sister's PC. It was a bit laggy, so I didn't go very far. After that, the game was installed on my dad's PC. It had to be played on the "fastest" graphics configuration. Otherwise the game would constantly crash and it would become laggy. During my 1st time playing this game, I got stuck on the Brother Obscura's boss fight. I DID know what to do, but I wasn't able to do it. Eventually, I gave up for some time.
    Eventually, the PC's here at home were becoming a bit powerful, and I ended up having my own PC. I replayed the game, then. And THAT time, it was to the end! It's true that, such an expected game by the fans of Lara Croft ended up being a disappointment for many reasons. The game constantly crashes, there are a lot of bugs in the AoD... even I was a bit disappointed with AoD, but above all that, it's definitely one of my favorites of the whole Tomb Raider series!

  4. I agree, too, Stella. I remember watching the trailer over and over in anticipation of the game and being wowed by the graphics. The storyline is one of my favorites in the series, and I wish we'd been able to see where the trilogy was headed in the games.

    I have to admit I didn't like Kurtis, or playing as him at least. It felt foreign and weird in a Tomb Raider game to not be Lara. I was also disappointed at the controls and had to use the "flying" cheat more than a few times in my first play of the game because my ancient PC just wouldn't have any of it.

    The music in AOD may be my favorite of any game in the series. I don't know how many times I've listened to that soundtrack, especially the main theme. I always thought they packed a lot of emotion into it.

  5. I LOVED this game and I do...I played it for first time on 2005 on PS2. This is one of my favorites with TR III. I like Lara´s face on this game, and the idea of her return from the shadows with revenge. The long lasting and fantastic story. The Paris streets left me with a WOWWWW sensation!!! When I frist played it I loved to find a lot of new "things" on teh game, renderings, outfits, friends, etc... I only don´t like timed runnings... I hate them!!! drive me soooooo MAD! hahahaha But for me, AoD was a Masterpiece!!! My poor kids had to wait behind my back for hours to gain access to their games on Playstation hahahahaha I was addictive!

  6. I played it immediately after release and enjoyed it. The most irritating thing for me was being forced to play as Kurtis, which in retrospect seems trivial now. The bit that flummoxed me was the fight against Boaz, mostly because I couldn't figure out the controls. The bits that stick in my mind were the giant greenhouse with the insects in it and the under water vault with the tombs of knights. It's tragic that the game wasn't finished for whatever reason, that the bean counters at Eidos linked it with the under-performance of Cradle of Life and that Core were sacked. The moody Gothic Lara was great and it's sad she got exiled and sold down the river instead of making it to the underground cities of Cappadocia.

  7. I only got round to playing it about a year ago. Playing it after the event on a modern PC with all the patches, it isn't so bad. The franchise really needed a reboot, and to their credit the team really tried to do something new with the format. It's a shame they never got to make all 3 parts of the trilogy that this was supposed to be part one of, because story-wise it's quite intriguing.

    I always have a fondness for those who try so hard but fail. The Crystal Dynamics games that followed it were much slicker and less buggy, but they were pretty safe. They didn't try to reinvent the games in the same way AoD did.

    So I have a fondness for AoD, just don't ask me to replay it again.

  8. When it got released I did not have the console.Also in our country it was really hard to find the ps2 version therefore I ordered it online and I started to play it after two weeks from the release.
    I must say that at that times the graphics were good and I was fortunate to play ps2 version because pc version had more drawbacks.I really did not like the very first hour of gameplay but when Lara met the Von then things changed.Also it was really weird because she had different system of recovering strength.In addition there were no double pistols (We had it but they did not put it into original release).Story-wise it is my favorite Tomb Raider to the date.Also the atmosphere it creates after while is something I miss today.We had such great atmosphere in TR 1,2 and 4 .

  9. I think I first played Angel of Darkness in about 2005 around the age of 6 on the PC. My father and I were playing through all of the Tomb Raiders together, but seeing as I was more attached to the games and more devoted, I played ahead of him most of the time. I think he was still on TR3 when I was on AOD.

    Being of a young age, I didn't take in any of the glitches, awkward controls or anything. To me it was just another great Tomb Raider game, and to this day the gameplay doesn't stop me from enjoying it. The story is fantastic and always will be.

  10. I absolutely loved AoD when I first played it and I still do, but, like Stella, I was frustrated at how buggy and unfinished it was.

    I loved the darker storyline. AoD still has my favourite story out of all the TR games, and I'm quite gutted that we'll never get to see it completed. It's a pity about the plot-holes - I remember being extremely confused at the end when the villain was revealed because Lara recognised him but I had no idea who he was.

    My poor old computer with 4mb integrated graphics was in no way capable of running the game. I was new to PC gaming at the time so I had a more capable friend of my tweak the graphics so it ran tolerably - though I still have a couple of screenshots from 2003 of Lara with bits missing from her face!

    I used keyboard-only for the controls - didn't touch the mouse at all, and still don't use the mouse for this game. The part that caused me massive frustration was Kurtis vs Boaz - I had to turn the game off and go outside to calm down while I was trying to do that bit. Thank goodness for the ability to save anywhere in this game - I wouldn't have been able to finish that fight if I'd had to re-start the battle every time I'd died.

    I moan and complain about AoD quite a lot, but that's frustration because it would have been so utterly brilliant if it had been completed properly the way Core had envisioned. I've played it over and over and I think that Tomb Raider 3 (my first TR game) is the only one that I've spent more hours in.

  11. I loved it. IMO it was the best of the originals by a long shot, and the voice acting was stellar, the cities were breathtaking and story was beautiful. I was *VERY* upset that they rebooted the series and did not complete the trilogy. They need to possibly remake this game, and after the remake, finish the trilogy.

  12. Just my first impressions:
    I played the game in 2003, as soon as it was available in Vienna / Austria.
    - music was beautiful, Laras look also.
    - a movie showed the dead Von Croy and I did not like it - somebody with nearly same abilities as Lara should not be killed so easily
    - I was disappointed about the "darker" Lara - to be pursued by the police does not mean to be "dark", and I knew that she was not guilty... her determination, her courage had always been "dark" in some way, a police announcement in the radio could not contribute to such values
    - I realized that there is no home level (which always is a fualt in my eyes), but I accepted to be thrown directly into the story (but then the flashback - 2 hours earlier - was an interruption)
    - I liked climbing drainpipes (up AND down), a lovely idea
    - I found the upper body strength upgrade ridiculous - strength should develope during the game, not in seconds after an effort...
    - escaping the police in the level with the blocked door was nice - to avoid the gas i had to give up my searching behaviour and try again and again to climb further up. realistic timing idea, little feeling of adventure.
    - when trying to escape I could not believe how buggy the cotrols were (even in an unfinished game this should be better)

  13. I played the game as soon as it came out.
    It was amazing at that time, especially here in Bulgaria.
    There weren't many fans here, but I was one of them so I was very psyched about it :)
    Since I was in my own dark (teen)age era and was all about doom & gloom and metal bands from Scandinavia you can imagine I loved the game completely.
    Of course here comes the whole bugs and controls story, which were absolutely frustrating, but regardless I loved it then and I love it 'till present days, when I'm a much brighter and happier person :)
    I still think that from the old generation (CORE) TR games this is the best one :)

  14. This wasn't the first time that I played AOD but this was the first time I saw the game. My earliest memory of the game is my dad in the serpent rouge trying to beat a man to death with bare fists while continuously getting stunned and then eventually rage quitting because he said "how am I supposed to kill this guy with no guns". Thumbs up to you dad ^.^

    So, when I eventually came around to playing the game myself once I was a little older and not yet a TR fan, I loved the game! or should I say the first level!

    Yes, I was scared to progress after the first level because the fact that I knew I was going to be chased scared the hell out of me so I continuously played the first level over and over. If that wasn't embarrassing enough, I used to play the first level every time I turned on my computer as I called it "A computer warm up".... I think I was a bit challenged as a child.

    Now that I am older I can handle the SWAT guys and can escape the building with ease but unfortunately, the game isn't on any console that I own (except PC but I cant play TR games on PC - Hate the controls!. never the less, AOD is one of my favourite TR games because of the new locations and amazing story, I just wish that I could actually complete it!

  15. Totally liked everything about it except the controls and the save/load system. Oh, stupid Boaz fight. :P

  16. I bought the game for the PS2 in 2011, played half of it, then got distracted by other games. I finally finished it this month, and though I had forgotten a bit what had happened, I still liked it. The story line was intresting, the skelton warriors were creepy, and the characters were intresting. I found climbing annoying, though, as she would keep freezing, then I'd run out of time and fall. Though I did rely a bit on internet walkthroughs when I couldn't figure out what to do next. I liked playing as Kurtis, though it would have been nice if I could have used his circular weapon thing.

  17. Thanks for all the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) memories, everybody.

    The post-Boaz save file is one of the most downloaded files on my site. So those of you who mentioned it are certainly not alone. ;) Later in the month, we'll have a specifically boss-related question. So stay tuned for that.

  18. I first got this game for the PC a few months after it was released, but since I couldn't even run the game (very old PC), I only ended up playing it in my PS2 a few years later. I got it for Christmas and I was absolutely mesmerized by the whole graphics, story and I even thought the controllers weren't bad, just different than what I was used to. I got through most of the game, but as I reached the famous Boaz level, it took me about two years to figure that I had to press the "Square" button to change targets and kill the beast! (shame on me!). After that, it was a short but enlightening run until the end. I still think it has one of the top stories in the whole video game industry, only to unfortunately been left for good... Although the game was heavily criticized, I still like the fact that it wasn't for the lack of creativity and ideas but just for the technicalities

  19. I've posted my Day 1 response on my blog - http://archaeologyoftombraider.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/the-angel-of-darkness-30-day-challenge-day-1/

  20. I only managed to play AOD for the first time in April of 2009. Before that, my old computer couldn't run the game, so I bought a copy in discount bin at Walmart just in case I would ever have a better computer that could run it some day. I was right. Here's what I posted at tombraiderforums when I first beat it, though I understand that this essay overlaps somewhat with the other questions, but I can't really split it:


  21. It's been so long since I've played TRAOD that I can't remember when I first got my hands on it. I just remember it being the first game I picked up for my PS2. At the time, I was blown away by it. Graphically, many of the PS2 games I got after AOD had a hard time comparing. And of course, I absolutely loved the soundtrack :)

    I can only echo what a lot of people have already said: I loved the look, feel, and sound of the game, but the controls and camera were frequently frustrating. There were also some glitches that were pretty hilarious (before becoming infuriating). One in particular that stands out in my memory was outside the Louvre. There was a drainpipe to climb down to reach an open window, and every time I got Lara to climb off it onto the ledge, she would promptly start floating skyward, back to the roof. I don't know how many times I took her back down the pipe before finally getting across that stupid ledge to the window!

    AOD was one of two TR games I couldn't avoid using a cheat to finish. I could get through fine until I reached - you guessed it - the Boaz fight. Then I'd have to use the level skip cheat to move on.

    As for Kurtis, I really didn't mind having him around. I actually liked the dynamic between him and Lara, especially in terms of where their relationship might potentially have gone in future games. However, I didn't like playing as him. He felt like a tank compared to Lara sometimes, clunky controls in general notwithstanding.

    I truly do wish the AOD storyline had been continued. I really enjoyed the game in spite of all the issues it had, and I miss being able to play it. It was basically the reason I got a PS2.

  22. ...I will be honest with you,all the hype about TR finally coming to the the PS2 was exciting.A new Lara ,better graphics,new places to explore.However ,I found the game and the story to be slow at the beginning.But as the game progressed I was very pleased.
    It is still my least favorite TR...

  23. When AoD first came out, I was blown away by how good the graphics were. It actually looked a lot better than a lot of other PS2 games, even though it played a lot worse.

    It was such a huge leap on from Chronicles in terms of presentation, and I was still young enough to be more struck by its appearence than by its drawbacks.

    Being a Tomb Raider veteran, the awkward controls didn't phase me that much; Tomb Raider has always been a bit awkward...

  24. My copy of TRAOD is in spanish and do not work in my PS2, why??

  25. I played it a little on steam, hated the controls and gave up. Yeah, I'm bad at keeping up. Made it to the Parisian Grotto though.

  26. This was my first Tomb Raider ever. I got it in 2005, having never heard of the Tomb Raider series, and a friend gave some of his PC games that he didn't play anymore I saw this and played it On my computer, and had a lot of fun!
    The controls were a tad aggrovating, but I just couldn't stop playing, I honestly fell in love with this game, and I ended up playing almost every Tomb Raider game, it encouraged me to buy the first five, and then (When they were released) I got Legend Anniversary and Underworld, and even The reboot.
    In my opinion this is kind of proof that it could be a great game, If it fans didn't have such High expectations, then maybe it would've gotten better reviews. Just A thought, Not saying anything bad about people who had high expectations, just saying if it wasn't part of the series it might've been an incredible game, this is honest to god my favorite Tomb Raider game. :)