Beyond the Cover: Tomb Raider III
Hello Tomb Raider community! Welcome again to BEYOND THE COVER. In this new issue, we’re going to discover some of the most special covers of Tomb Raider III, from the standard ones to some that very few know exist.
In these first lines of presentation of the second blog, I want to thank the good reception that this section has had, and for that reason I’ve decided to expand the number of covers compared to the first blog. I hope you enjoy everything you’re going to see below; it will be a pleasure to receive feedback for the following blogs. There are so many different versions and editions, so it’s difficult to choose, but I’m happy to introduce the community in this section.
Tomb Raider III, released in November 1998, is considered (by the vast majority) as the most difficult game in the franchise, even some of its designers have once said that certain parts were made so complicated that even they could not complete the levels without occasionally getting lost.
But it went much further, because it’s the first Tomb Raider game and one of the first games that allowed the player to choose their destinations in an order that wasn’t linear, but up to our personal decision. This implied a new feature to the franchise within this installment and a novelty that was very well received, also to offer a different gaming experience compared to the first two titles.
It’s important to remember that Sony maintained console exclusivity with this game, but it would be the last. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation was also released on Dreamcast (so the franchise returned to Sega after Tomb Raider (1996) came out on Sega Saturn), so we’ll have a lot of content on the next blog.
India, Nevada, London, South Pacific, Antarctica… let’s take a walk through these wonderful adventures of Lara Croft and learn more about the international editions of the game.
Time to start! Here we go with a personal selection about the most curious covers/editions of Tomb Raider III!
Tomb Raider III was published in North America (November 1998) at the same time European edition did. Lara Croft’s looks stunning in this cover art, shooting (something) with one of her guns, glasses, and the iconic outfit she wears. More aggressive and hostile like other designs.
In this case, the cover is very popular because Lara is located with the St. Paul’s cathedral behind her, which is one of the most important points of interest in the city of London, which of course appears in the game as one of the main levels.
As we saw with its predecessor, the logo maintains a rounded stone-like texture, with the text “Adventures of Lara Croft” and the number (“III”) designed with different fonts and styles placed on both sides of Lara.
As mentioned, Tomb Raider III European edition arrived the same day than NA one (November 1997). In this case, cover art is not totally different than its predecessor, just the views change.
For this game, entire logo maintains European patron, which is designed with the same texture, typography, and linearity. But both Lara’s pose and the background image and the logo are perfectly located in the photo, with measurements that are satisfactory.
In the European cover, the design of St. Paul is maintained as the main location, but the view we have in the background is of the roofs of the cathedral and not at street level. Personally, this design is more favored because it offers a gloomier and more aesthetic plan of the cathedral, this cover being more desired among fans than that of America. Also, for being more faithful to such an important part of the game.
The Japanese version of Tomb Raider III for PlayStation (March 4, 1999) slightly modified the original design of the covers used in America and Europe with Lara Croft in a more aggressive pose and St. Paul’s Cathedral illuminated (as can be seen in some official artworks of the game).
Personally, this cover is the one I like the most, not only because of its beautiful aesthetics, but also because we can see practically Lara’s entire body on the rooftops near the cathedral, one of the most significant levels in the game.
Japanese version of the game has more items scattered around the level and less enemy health. As a note, Crystals are used not to save the game but to recover entire Lara’s. Lastly, the default control scheme is different, with the X button being used for jump, for example.
The PlayStation release came with 2 disks. Disk 1 containing the Japanese edition and Disk 2 containing the original UK edition (with Japanese region encoding, even the menus are still in English).
Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artifact had numerous physical editions on PC, released in different countries as a definitive edition of the game. This edition includes the main game and bonus levels from The Lost Artifact expansion.
In the image above, you can see editions from United States (top left), United Kingdom (top right), France (bottom left) and Brazil (bottom right). This kind of games are released in card box from several brands of seals as Eidos Platinum, Premier Collection, Super Games and CD Expert, among many others.
As you can see, more different cover is Brazil one (bottom right). Did you see? Yes, the logo is a mixture between Angel of Darkness, Legend and Anniversary one and “The Lost Artifact” original logo. This cover was released years after the original game, so designers took this and that and made a curious fusion. Is interesting to note documents and assets in the background, and for sure that daylight scenario.
The Greatest Hits/Platinum editions of Tomb Raider III! We already saw the design they had with their predecessor, and we see them again here.
The jewel case is maintained in both cases as well as the original designs of its standard versions in each region. In the case of Europe, game ratings reappear as a sign of success.
These editions were released after the important sales of the game on PlayStation, thus becoming one of the most important titles of the console internationally.
If you remember Eidos Ricochet editions, here you are the “sequel” of this seal. This edition was released in Germany as part of a collection of Eidos games that would continue in the future under the name Eidos Classics Edition.
This reissue of Tomb Raider III for PlayStation came out in the country because of the sales achieved with this title and to highlight the Eidos catalog as an editor with its most outstanding games.
SoldOut editions were released in the UK for those games that had been very successful and had been out for a long time.
With these low-cost versions, the game was still being sold, published as a very cheap edition for PC, which encouraged further sales in the English market.
It doesn’t have much of a mystery as it’s the original Europe standard cover of Tomb Raider III overlaid on the editorial line of the SoldOut box.
Tomb Raider trapezoid boxes are well known among fans and collectors of the franchise. These editions were published for the first five classic games. They were only available in the United States.
Its market value is currently very high, and this is given by the special design it has, so I want to show you a little beyond the cover design and its characteristic shape.
Tomb Raider III’s trapezoid case maintains the style of the North American standard edition. Of course, it’s a unique design. Includes the base game, demos of other Eidos games, and extra collectible content only.
On the back of the cover there are different headlines reviews of the game by critics as well as renders of Lara Croft and screenshots of the game.
Tomb Raider III it was also released on Macintosh. Its physical editions came out in North America and France, presented in an elegant cardboard box.
They only included the base game, and it has served more as memorabilia due to its high price and limited units (because of the countries where these editions were released) than due to playing on a Mac.
As can be seen, the North American and European cover designs are respected. As a detail, these versions were ported by Aspyr.
Boxes, boxes, and more boxes…! Although all the editions of Tomb Raider III in cardboard boxes for PC are very similar, with the vast majority being European, you can see some difference between them: logos placed differently, Lara more to the left or in the center, etc.
This is the order of the images: UK (top left), Italy (top right), Germany (bottom left), France (bottom right).
Of course, the big difference is seen in the brands or publishers of these editions in each country. For example, SAT 1 released all these versions for the classic games in Germany and Europe 2 in France.
Surprise! Yes, Tomb Raider III had a special edition in a cardboard box that was released in China. This is a very little-known edition, but it does exist.
Even belonging to Asia, for this design the cover and logo of Europe were used. The logo has an adaptation in Chinese with the title of the game and the number III, which heads the box.
This edition is exclusive to PC and is localized to Chinese, as can be read in the phrase of the part located in the lower central part. As a curiosity, the people in charge of distributing and porting this version were Virgin Interactive and SunTendy Interactive.
Here’s the finishing touch to this blog, with the Tomb Raider III gold box.
Released in Germany, it is the most majestic, published edition of the game, not only because of its impressive design, but because of how Lara Croft and the game’s logo are presented with those lines drawn in black.
What’s inside? The base game for PC with its instruction manual and everything that a standard edition contains, no extra content. But it’s certainly a highly sought-after collector’s item for its beautiful appearance as well as how good it looks in a collection.
Hope you enjoyed my personal selection for Tomb Raider III covers, but I aim you to discover more and new ones. I’m Alejandro Cambronero Albaladejo and you can follow my path on Alex’s Tomb Raider Blog or Tomb Raider World and my social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). Be here to next issue with Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999). See you and keep exploring!