The Darker Themes of The Angel of Darkness

BY Nicky Grobler | 21 June 2023

Nicky Grobler, 15, is a bilingual Afrikaans-speaking student from South Africa in the Northern Cape. He loves to study and write about nature and wishes to take classes on how to write more professionally when given the opportunity. His first Tomb Raider was Tomb Raider Anniversary over a decade ago, and he has loved the series ever since.

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness came out in 2003 and was developed by Core Design. This game took a dark turn for the Tomb Raider series, some might say for good. For me personally, the whole new theme that Angel of Darkness has, fits extremely well with the series. It is something new, something different. It has a whole murder mystery aspect to it, something that kept us all at the edge of our seats of did Lara commit the murder or was it someone else?

The opening cutscene start with Lara talking to Von Croy in his apartment when she gets mad and pushes him into a seat. We then hear him yell “Get out, Get out”. Shortly after that, we can hear a pistol shooting. This instantly leaves us thinking that Lara killed him but she does seem shocked so we cannot be so sure. After that we can see her running from the police as the game then starts.

This whole opening scene is much darker than the previous Tomb Raider games has had. We can even see the blood leaking onto the floor and on Lara’s hands. Later we learn about the Obscura Paintings. A character with the name Eckhardt, is searching for these paintings. It is up to us playing as Lara, to try and stop Eckhardt from getting all of the paintings no matter what is in our way.

Later on when we return to Von Croy’s apartment to try and find more clues on what could have done this, we find something that looks like a ritual, painted on a wall with some sort of ancient letters next to it. We then get attacked inside the apartment. Turns out we were betrayed by Bouchard, which was a character that we were trusting to help us find the paintings before Eckhardt. This will leave us with trusting issues as we cannot trust anyone with trying to find these paintings.

A lot later on in the game we are sneaking through vents inside of a building where we then see a reporter being killed by what seems like Eckhardt as another ritual-like symbol being painted on the wall with his blood.

At the climax of the game, we see another villain, Boaz, being betrayed by Eckhart because she didn’t destroy the dangerous proto-Nephilim. Her death is a bit brutal even without us seeing mostly what happened. This death shook me when I saw it for the first time playing and it still gives me the chills when looking back. Afterwards, she fuses with the creature that had eaten her as a part of the final battle, and we fight her as Kurtis. Kurtis then appears to die by being stabbed in the stomach.

Finally, at the end, Eckhardt’s right-hand man, Karel, kills Eckhardt and reveals himself to be a Nephilim. We learn that he was the one who killed Von Croy and blamed Lara for the murder.

The game took a dark turn in the beginning and close to the climax. The whole dark theme in the game makes me and a lot of other fans love it even more.