Initial Release: November 1997
Metacritic Score: 85 (details)
ESRB/PEGI Rating: Teen/12
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation. Later: Macintosh, PlayStation 3 and PSP (via PlayStation Network), Mac OS X, iOS and Android.
Spoiler-free Synopsis: Legend has it that when you drive the Dagger of Xian into your heart, you acquire the power of the dragon. Literally. In Ancient China, the Emperor was the holder of this power and with his army alongside him, he was a force to be reckoned with. Thus he staked claim to the vast lands that are China. His final battle, however, ended in defeat. While people fell into submission all around him, the warrior monks of Tibet would not relent and courageously fought against his evil. Knowing the power of the dagger, they succeeded in removing it from the Dragon Emperor's heart, reducing him and his army to carnage. The dagger was returned to its resting place within The Great Wall and locked up for all time.
Now three parties hold the dagger close to their heart. And all for entirely different reasons. Lara, forever the adventurer, is one of these. In her travels, she will encounter the other two.
Gameplay is still a combination of action and adventure, but the sequel includes quite a bit more combat and bloodshed than the original. This time there are 16 full-size levels plus two shorter levels at the end. Lara's journey takes her from the Great Wall of China to the canals of Venice, then to an offshore oil rig and a sunken shipwreck. From there journeys to the foothills of the Himalayas and, finally, back to the Great Wall.
What's New Since TR1: Graphics have been enhanced somewhat, though they are still primitive by today's standards. In addition to the pistols, shotgun, and Uzis from the original game, Lara adds a harpoon gun, M-16 assault rifle and grenade launcher to her arsenal. (Automatic pistols replace the Magnums from TR1.) Lara can now use flares to light her way in dark places, as well as drive vehicles: a speedboat in Venice and a snowmobile in Tibet. New moves include ladder climbing and additional acrobatic maneuvers.
Saving Your Game: Unlimited saves at any point on all platforms. (PC and Macintosh savegame files are available in case you make a bad save, want to skip a level, etc.)
Secrets: In TR2, the secrets for each level consist of three dragon statues—silver, jade and gold. Sometimes they're well hidden, sometimes in plain sight. A chime sounds when you locate a secret, and the stopwatch in the main inventory ring indicates how many you've found so far. This also appears on the statistics screen at the end of each level. When you pick up all three, you are rewarded with bonus items, usually ammo but occasonally a weapon or medipak. There is no bonus for finding all secrets in the game. And, as always, my walkthrough includes the locations of all secrets.
Bonus Levels: TR2 was re-released for Windows and Macintosh as "Tomb Raider 2 Gold." It includes a five-level expansion pack titled "The Golden Mask." These bonus levels are also available as a free download. For more information, including a complete walkthrough, visit my Golden Mask page.
Classic Tomb Raider Games on New Systems: This game was designed for Windows 98 but can be patched to run in newer versions of Windows. There are also a number of fan-made mods to enhance your gaming experience. See the TR2 Downloads page for details. For help running the Macintosh version on newer systems, visit MacRaider.
Updated versions for PC that require no patching are available for download from GOG.com and Steam. The PlayStation Store has versions for PS3 and PSP. The Mac App Store has Tomb Raider 2 for Mac OS X, as well as iPhone and iPad, and an Android version was recently released as well.
Becoming an Expert Raider
If you've never played a Tomb Raider game before—or even if you have—I encourage you to check out my TR2 Controls and Gameplay Tips & Strategy pages. They include pointers on moving Lara through her environment, conserving health and ammo, using the menu and inventory systems, and much more.
Tomb Raider 2 Walkthrough
(includes Lara's treasure room)
Great Wall & Venice
Offshore & Sunken Ship
China Levels & Epilogue
Some screenshots courtesy of Katie's Tomb Raider Site.