Tomb Raider 3

Initial Release: November 1998

Metacritic Score: 76 (details)

ESRB/PEGI Rating: Teen/12

Platforms: Windows, PlayStation. Later: Macintosh, PlayStation 3 and PSP (via PlayStation Network). Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered coming February 2024 to PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam and GOG.

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Millions of years ago, a meteor crashed to Earth, landing in Antarctica, then a tropical paradise. Today, the same area is being excavated by the research company RX Tech, who are picking up unusual readings from the meteorite's impact zone. It is here that they uncover the body of a sailor who served on Charles Darwin's expedition on the H.M.S. Beagle. A few of the sailors had apparently explored the crater's interior.

Following clues from the sailor's journal, the researchers have expanded their search beyond the impact crater to other parts of the globe, where the Beagle's crew subsequently traveled...and died.

One of these places is India, where Lara is currently searching for the Infada Stone. Unaware of its true history, she only knows that in local beliefs it was supposed to hold great powers. Soon she will discover much more....

Tomb Raider 3 - Antarctica

What's New Since TR2: More detailed environments and enhanced graphics, including dynamic lighting, rain, snow, smoke, mist, and other 3D effects. Lara's arsenal now includes the powerful Desert Eagle pistol and rocket launcher. (The pistol, shotgun, Uzis, harpoon gun and grenade launcher carry over from TR2, and an MP5 submachine gun replaces TR2's M-16.) New vehicles include a quad bike (ATV), underwater propulsion unit, kayak, inflatable motor boat and mine car. Lara gets some fresh moves as well. She can now traverse hand over hand (monkey-bar style), crouch, crawl and sprint. Also, instead of being completely linear, the middle locations—London, the South Pacific and Nevada—can be played in any order.

Save Crystal

Saving Your Game: As in TR1, the PlayStation game requires you to pick up a save crystal each time you want to save your game. PC and Macintosh players still have unlimited saves. The crystals do appear in the PC and Mac games but function as small health power-ups. Perhaps the designers intended to have save crystals in the PC game, then scrapped the idea but for some reason didn't remove the crystals. (Windows and Macintosh savegame files are available in case you make a bad save, want to skip a level, etc.)

Secrets: As in the original Tomb Raider, the number of secrets in each level varies (from 0 to 6). Secrets consist of ammunition, medi packs, save/power-up crystals and the occasional weapon. A chime sounds when you locate a secret, and the stopwatch in the main inventory ring indicates the number of secrets in the current level and how many you've found so far. This also appears on the statistics screen at the end of each level. There is no reward for finding all secrets in a level, but finding all secrets in the game allows you to access the bonus level, All Hallows. As always, my walkthrough includes the location of all secrets.

If you haven't found all the secrets and want to play the bonus level, you can use the PlayStation all-secrets cheat or download a save file for PC or Mac.

Bonus Levels: Aside from the extra level unlocked by finding all secrets (above), there is also a mini-sequel, The Lost Artifact. This is a stand-alone game with just six levels. It is available only for Windows and Macintosh.

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 TR3 Downloads page for details. For help running the Macintosh version on newer systems, visit MacRaider.

An updated version for PC that requires minimal patching is available for download from Steam and GOG. (It will run on newer versions of Windows but may need some tweaking to run in widescreen and/or windowed format.) The PlayStation Store has versions for PS3 and PSP.

Tomb Raider 1-3 remastered title art

If you can hold out a little while longer, Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Starring Lara Croft  is coming February 14, 2024, for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam and GOG.

Tomb Raider 3 screenshots

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 TR3 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.

See this page for IMPORTANT BUG WARNINGS with minimal spoilers.

If you prefer a video walkthrough to text with screenshots, I encourage you to check out my friend Bosnian Streamer's Complete Tomb Raider 3 Video Walkthrough.

Tomb Raider 3 Walkthrough/Strategy Guide

Training Level

Lara's Home
(includes Lara's treasure room,
assault course and racetrack)

Tomb Raider 3 screenshot

Temple Ruins
The River Ganges
Caves of Kaliya

Tomb Raider 3 screenshot

Nevada Desert
High Security Compound
Area 51

Tomb Raider 3 screenshot
South Pacific

Coastal Village
Crash Site
Madubu Gorge
Temple of Puna

Tomb Raider 3 screenshot

Thames Wharf
Lud's Gate

Tomb Raider 3 screenshot

RX-Tech Mines
Lost City of Tinnos
Meteorite Cavern

Tomb Raider 3 screenshot
Bonus Level

London - All Hallows

Tomb Raider 3 screenshot

Some screenshots courtesy of Katie's Tomb Raider Site. TR3 synopsis draws from information on The Tomb Raiders Traveler's Guide.