Tomb Raider: Anniversary is based off of the Tomb Raider: Legend engine and is a heavily updated version of the original Tomb Raider. Each of the four levels has been adjusted and modified to improve the overall level design. Caves and puzzles have been removed, reworked, and recreated to take advantage of the new engine. Tomb Raider: Anniversary was developed by Crystal Dynamics alongside Buzz Monkey Software for the PC, PS2, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360 versions of the re-release. Alongside a disc release for the Xbox 360, the game was also downloadable to owners of Tomb Raider: Legend.
The opening scene portrays a deserted town in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The area is a test bed for nuclear activity during the 40’s, and during one such test the explosion unearths a crystalline formation buried below the soil. A winged creature escapes from the hidden chamber after the blast. The player is then introduced to Lara Croft some fifty-one years later in Calcutta, India.
Lara’s long-time rival Larson Conway brings in Jacqueline Natla, a popular entrepreneur with valuable information and connections regarding the Atlantean Scion. Natla reveals that she has located one of the three pieces of the Atlantean Scion in Peru and that she would like Lara to retrieve it for her. Lara is easily enticed and accepts the offer, having searched for it in the past but never finding it. She later arrives at the hidden city of Vilcabamba where the adventure begins.
After navigating puzzles and encountering a variety of dinosaurs and other animals in the area Lara reaches a temple. Inside is a tomb where Lara uncovers the corpse of Qualopec and is presented with flash-backs of what took place before his death. Qualopec was one of the three leaders of Atlantis and later is revealed to be Natla’s brother. Lara interprets inscriptions within the tomb only to discover that with Atlantis’s destruction, Qualopec and the other two rulers tasked themselves with guarding the three pieces of the Atlantean Scion. Lara is then attacked by creatures within the tomb and hastily takes the Scion piece from the alter. The entire structure begins falling apart around her as Qualopec rises. Lara escapes, leaving a re-animated Qualopec trapped behind the rubble. After escaping the collapse Lara is confronted by Larson, who was employed by Natla all along to retrieve the Scion that Lara recovered. Lara and Larson fight, with Lara ultimately beating him. Larson reveals that Natla has hired a second tomb raider to search for the next piece of the Scion, archeologist Pierre DuPont. Lara discovers the location of the second piece of the Scion is in St. Francis Folly, Greece.
Lara arrives at the temple in Greece where she navigates new sets of puzzles and creatures before finally reaching the next tomb; that of Tihocan, second of the three Atlantean rulers. She finds a vacant casket and none other than Pierre DuPont, who demands she give him Qualopec’s piece of the Scion. Pierre himself uncovered Tihocan’s piece. Lara refuses, and they fight for each others piece. Pierre escapes the tomb, but triggers two large Centaur bosses outside to come alive. Pierre believes they only want to protect the Scion and hands it over to Lara, to save himself. The Centaurs crush and kill Pierre before turning their attention to Lara. She defeats them and turns her attention to the final piece, located in the Sanctuary of the Scion, in Egypt.
Lara fights her way through, reaching the deeper parts of the temple. After recovering the final piece of the Scion she puts together all three. A flash-back reveals the full story of the third ruler, who is exposed as Natla. True to her personality, power-hungry, she seized control of the armies of Atlantis and used them against the very people she ruled over. Qualopec and Tihocan imprisoned her for the crimes she committed. She was incased in the crystalline formation where she later escaped from in Los Alamos. Natla’s hired mercenaries arrive and Natla takes the connected pieces from Lara. They take her weapons and Natla orders them to shoot her. Larson fires, missing Lara on purpose. Lara escapes the fight from a cliff into the water below. Natla and her Mercenaries drive away on a nearby boat. Lara chases them on her motorcycle and takes a nearby jump, landing on the boat. She hides in the hull.
They arrive at the Lost Island. A place Natla has been excavating for some time. Mining equipment and rail lines have been placed within. After working around a blockade deep in the caves, Lara is greeted by Larson, who has disabled a mine-cart she needs in order to proceed. Larson refuses to hand over the fuse she needs, and believes she won’t harm him. He keeps pushing her until she can take no more, firing three shots into Larson, killing him. She hesitates afterward, feeling the guilt of what she did. She decidedly moves on, haunted by the decision to kill him. Later she is encountered by the other two mercenaries who taunt her. One of them, The Kid, attempts to shoot her. She dodges the attack and the other mercenary, Kold, turns. He lunges at The Kid with a knife, stabbing him so he can have Lara to himself. Then he turns his interest to her. He pushes her up against the wall and grabs her by the throat. With his back turned, The Kid shoots Kold in the back, before finally dying. Lara is saved, and moves deeper into the caves leaving their bodies behind.
Lara arrives in a chamber. Natla stands before her and proclaims that she has the power to bring on the Seventh Age, something Qualopec and Tihocan were not capable of doing themselves. Natla has the completed Scion in her possession. Lara destroys the Scion. Natla furiously charges at Lara sending them both over a ledge into a pit of lava. Lara instinctively shoots her grapple to a nearby ledge, saving herself. Natla falls into the lava.
Lara pulls herself up and fights through a mini-boss above the very same pit of lava. After killing the monster she later arrives at another large chamber. Natla confronts her, and declares her immortality. She tells Lara they are the same and that Lara has killed too. Lara frees herself from Natla clutches and fights her. After depleting Natla’s health, Lara avoids one last attack before knocking a column onto Natla, pinning her to the ground. Natla screams out in pain as the entire island begins to fall apart. Lara finds an escape and reaches the ocean. She finds Natla’s boat along the shore and leaves the island behind her, remorseful for the choices she made but relieved that she was able to stop Natla, and save mankind.
In Anniversary Lara has a large variety of moves that were absent in the first Tomb Raider or were moves that have been re-worked for Anniversary.
Combat is based on Legend’s engine. Here Lara is able to auto-target enemies and fire at them while moving, jumping, and avoiding attacks. During combat some enemies will become aggravated and charge at Lara. She can dodge them with an adrenaline dodge. If timed correctly, Lara will jump out of the line of attack, firing a shot to the head and instantly killing the enemy.
Lara can acquire a number of weapons in the game including:
Lara will also find ammo drops for each weapon plus small and large health packs. Each level will have rewards based on items hidden within the stages. Collecting relics and artifacts unlock music, costumes, commentaries, and more.
Lara has a journal in her inventory that will keep track of various encounters and points of interest, as well as the goals she needs to complete.
Lara’s adventure takes her from Peru, to Greece, then Egypt, and finally the Lost Island. Each of the levels is divided into sub-set stages with varying degrees of difficulty in the puzzles and enemies. Lara also has access to her mansion, The Croft Manor. Inside are optional puzzles that can be solved to unlock additional content. Each stage features time trials that can be completed if the player chooses to do so.
Tomb Raider: Anniversary requires 3.0GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.