It’s been nearly twenty years since Tomb Raider was released onto the Sony Playstation, SEGA Saturn and PC platforms and now, to celebrate it’s 20th Anniversary, the Tomb Raider fansite ‘Lara’ has released some pre-alpha footage from the original 1996 videogame.
The pre-alpha footage is only a few minutes long but, as explained by Webmaster Daniel Barnes, it does offer some key differences to the final retail product; such as Lara being able to dual wield at enemies, which was not present in the original game, as well as wear the iconic black sunglasses that were seen at the start of the game.
This is the pre-alpha build of the original Tomb Raider. It’s not a level as such, rather a collection of vast chambers and chasms styled in what would later become the Vilcabamba level textures. It is believe that it was produced to give Eidos a preview of what the game engine was capable of.
This build is particularly unique and interesting for a number of reasons. Lara was sporting her iconic braid, which was later removed as it added too many polygons to the game. Not only that, but Lara is also sporting her iconic sunglasses too!
Other unique and interesting features included in the pre-alpha were the ability to dual aim – Lara is able to target two different enemies at once, although these particular enemies don’t attack. The camera syetem started out differently too – the player is given the ability to zoom and pan the camera in any which way they choose – pretty tricky to get to grips with, but useful for creating some unique shots.
Lastly, the jump animation was completely changed. In this build the jump is far more exaggerated. Lara is unable to simply jump straight up in the air, instead she bends her knees, swings her arms and propels herself into a full Matrix-style leap across the map.
It’s a pretty interesting selection of differences and it just shows the lengths that development teams will go to remove, replace or alter their game before its general release.