Tomb Raider III combines the best elements of its two predecessors: Tomb Raider's atmosphere, vast locations, puzzle-solving and exploration elements and Tomb Raider II's action and use of vehicles. The combination of these elements offers the player an environment that features more of a 50-50 balance between exploration and action elements.
Tomb Raider III's non-linear levels present the player with more than one route to complete each level. There is also a new structure for the order of gameplay: Tomb Raider III contains 5 separate 'adventures' which link together. After completing the first adventure, the following three may be played in any order, before the fifth level brings the game to its conclusion. A new save-game system has also been implemented, offering 'easy' and 'difficult' options.
Improved artificial intelligence allows more sophisticated combat techniques since enemies react far more realistically - they may even run away when initially approached. It is now possible to sneak past some of the enemies and duck behind objects whilst shooting.
As well as a completely new landscape system that allows far greater detail than the previous games, Tomb Raider III incorporates a variety of new elements such as multi-coloured lighting, weather effects and more realistic execution for flames, explosions and water surfaces. All elements have been designed to give the game more depth and the player more satisfaction!