|Title Screen - Software Mode|
Tomb Raider PC was released alongside versions for the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn. The PC version had certain enhancements and limitations compared with the console versions. The PC advantages include an optional 640x480 resolution mode, faster loading times, the ability to save anywhere and at virtually anytime, more configurable controls and support for the Unfinished Business add-on. The PSX and Saturn display better FMV quality, output better quality sound effects, have support for more than four buttons on a gamepad and a greater variety of music that is heard when certain triggering events occur in-game.
|In-game - Software Mode 320x200|
|In-game - Software Mode 640x480|
|In-game - 3dfx Patch|
The Mystique and Virge were especially notorious for poor feature sets, performance and drivers. The ATi card was decent. However, the ATi patch is unique because it contains a true Windows executable for Tomb Raider. This allows it to run without any DOS sound card configuration and allows the full selection of buttons without a keyboard to joystick mapper. It also supported 800x600 graphics in Tomb Raider. The Verite had some good early 3D game support with its custom APIs, but the company's inability to release competitive products alongside 3Dfx and nVidia consigned the Verite architecture to obsolesence.
|Unfinished Business Title Screen - Software Mode|
|Unfinished Business In-game - Software Mode 320x200|
|Unfinished Business - Software Mode 640x480|
|Unfinished Business - 3dfx Mode|
With a Voodoo Rush or better, you may see a white outline around Lara's pistols, their discharge and her left hand. Disabling the anti-aliasing with F3 will remove it. Custom DOSBox builds with Glide support may show black outlines. Also, the mip-mapping feature will show "seams" in the surfaces on real hardware, so I would not advise using it. I don't know whether this will be seen with a real Voodoo Graphics card.
For the Unfinished Business addon, there are two Voodoo patches. The one that works with the Voodoo Rush, 2 and later 3dfx cards, despite what the readme file may say, and has a file size of 867,563 bytes and a CRC32 of EBFBFEAD. This works with the same data files as the software-render only executable.
There is another patch floating around with the same file size but a CRC32 of 61E47504, this one may only work with the original Voodoo 1 graphics cards.
Glidos can improve the quality of the FMVs to Playstation levels with a downloadable pack, but this has not been integrated into the original DOS version. There are also several texture enhancement packs available for Glidos, but not all cover the full game.
I have all the patches mentioned here, some of which can be hard to find. If anyone needs a particular patch, contact me.
Tomb Raider, while a DOS game, is Windows-tolerant. It's sound support is pretty basic, requiring only a Sound Blaster. It supports a wide variety of ISA sound cards, including the Sound Blaster Pro, Sound Blaster 16/AWE32 & 64, Pro Audio Spectrum 16, Roland RAP-10, Microsoft/Windows Sound System, ESS AudioDrive, Ensoniq SoundScape, Gravis UltraSound and Gravis UltraSound Max. It also supports the NewMedia.WAVJammer and I/O Magic Tempo PCMCIA sound cards natively. The game uses middleware drivers from HMI.
In DOS, you shouldn't have a problem if you actually have one of these ISA or PCMCIA cards, or a card that advertises compatibility. Tomb Raider uses a sound card only for sound effects, and they are typically in an 8-bit/22kHz format (lowest common denominator, suitable for a pre-Pro Sound Blaster). In Windows 9x, DOS games can still access ISA sound cards directly. All the listed sound cards have Windows 9x drivers, and most are built into Windows 98SE. I am not sure whether there is a driver to obtain digital audio capabilities in Windows 9x for the Adlib Gold, only the FM Synthesizer may be supported. Owners of that card would be out of luck for this game.
If you only have a PCI sound card, you will need to activate its DOS sound card emulation capabilities, if any. Most PCI sound cards for Windows 9x do emulate a Sound Blaster Pro, so if you have the emulation drivers installed in Windows 9x, you should be good to go. The Aureal Vortex 2 sound card works perfectly for this game, but you must set the resources manually in the setup program. Of course, you will need to use the Tomb Raider setup program to tell the game the virtual resources (I/O, IRQ/DMA) the emulation is using. You will need to run the game in Windows unless you have installed the drivers that provide real-mode DOS support for sound.
The Tomb Raider PC CD is a mixed data/audio CD, with one data track and nine audio tracks. The audio tracks should be playable in a CD player or with Windows Media Player. If you can hear no music, make sure that there is an MPC cable connected from your CD ROM or DVD ROM drive to your sound card. You can also hear the music if you plug in headphones or speakers to the audio output jack on the front of many drives. Also, make sure your mixer settings have not muted the CD audio. There are some budget releases where the CD audio is not present.
The Playstation version of the game is also a mixed data/audio CD but has fifty-six audio tracks. Additional tracks are used for all in-game spoken dialog, including the tutorial level. This dialog, recorded in 16-bit CD audio format, will sound superior to the 8-bit digital format the PC version uses. There are also additional Playstation music tracks that play back at certain points in the levels that are entirely absent from the PC version. On the other hand, the Playstation version does not have ambient music playing throughout the levels. Core Design removed these extra tracks from the PC version as a "design decision", according to the PC version's readme file. The theory behind the decision is that certain CD drives could not keep up with the frequent CD track changes.
The idea of putting these cues back in the game had been floating around for many years, but the trouble was that early hackers believed that the triggers for the in-game music would have to be recreated from scratch. Then a guy going by the name KMO found that the triggers were still present, albeit disabled, in the main executable. A small patch was made in 2007, called the Tomb Raider Audio Restoration Patch, to enable the triggers. A new CD must be burnt containing the additional CD audio tracks from the PSX version or mp3s of those tracks. Because any of the Greatest Hits releases of Tomb Raider can be purchased for very little money, I would suggest buying a copy and ripping the tracks using a program called Exact Audio Copy. The patch will allow the best of both worlds, ambient music will play except when triggered music is activated. Start reading here for more information : http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=10463&start=180
The patch will be found on the next page, http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=10463&start=200#p117936. Included in the patch is a modified Voodoo Rush TOMB.EXE, but there are instructions to modify any Tomb Raider executable. Glidos also supports restoring the triggers through a downloadable pack.
Tomb Raider defaults to using the keyboard, but can use a gamepad with the keyboard. As it is a DOS game, it only recognizes four buttons and two axes. If you are playing the game in Windows, make sure your controller uses ID1 in the Game Controller properties in the Control Panel. If you have a gamepad with more than four buttons, you will need a program like JoytoKey to map the extra buttons to keyboard keys. JoytoKey is one program that will work, but modern versions are only shareware and run on nothing less than Windows XP. You can find an older freeware version of the software, 3.7.4, that works on Windows 9x here : http://www.electracode.com/4/joy2key/JoyToKey%20English%20Version.htm
I have successfully used an original Playstation controller (no analog sticks) with a Radio Shack PSX to USB adapter (RS Part # 26-304) in Windows 98SE. The USB adapter will be seen by Windows 98SE as a generic HID device, and all the buttons of the PSX controller will be visible. You can also use a PSX Dual Shock controller. Tomb Raider for the Playstation was pre-Dual Shock and only supported digital axes. A standard PC joystick provides analog axes, but I do not believe Tomb Raider for the PC really takes advantage of analog degrees of movement. I would suggest mapping the more critical functions to the "real" DOS gamepad buttons (Action, Draw Weapons, Jump) and the less timing critical buttons to the "emulated" keyboard buttons.
I found that if I used a Gravis Gamepad connected to my Vortex 2's game port, the control was unreliable with the Voodoo Rush executables. The menu would rotate uncontrollably and Lara would not run in a straight line without turning. This was with my Pentium III 600E running at 600MHz. When I reduced the speed to 400MHz by knocking down the FSB to 66MHz, the control was properly responsive.