Playing the classic Tomb Raiders
in the OS X Classic Environment

Updated 15 June 2009


The classic Mac Tomb Raiders - TR 1 to TR 4 (Last Revelation) - will only run on a PowerPC Mac. They will not run on an Intel Mac, which means that no new Mac computer can now run them! The Intel version of OS X has no support for any classic Mac software, not just games....

Running a classic Mac full screen 3D game, particularly the earlier games, in OS X Classic mode, can exhibit problems due to graphics incompatibilities. The results can differ between different Macs with different graphics hardware (ATI or NVIDIA), and different versions of OS X which have varying Classic graphics support via OpenGL. I can confirm that my 2004 built MDD dual G4 Power Mac with an NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600 128MB graphics card and OS X Panther 10.3.9 runs all the classic Mac TRs well, one way or another. However, other setups may or may not show the same success. You just have to try using my tips and see what happens, and I can give no guarantees that you'll be successful!

The comments below for TR 1-3 all pertain to the Trilogy versions of the games. The original release games may have different options, and may be more difficult to get running in Classic! I strongly recommend that you run the latest versions of the classic Mac TRs you can get. This means the Trilogy versions of TR 1-3 if you can find them, which have updates that were never released as patches for the original release games. If you run the original release TR 1-3, or TR 4 Last Revelation, try to get the latest patches from Aspyr.

Playing in OS X Tiger Classic (added 19 November 2006)

I've had some feedback from an OS X Tiger user with an ATI graphics chip which indicates that there may be problems playing those classic TRs in Tiger Classic which use OpenGL directly. In particular this refers to Last Revelation, which only has the option of OpenGL so can't use MacGLide - the advice I received is that you may experience control lags that make the game difficult, or even impossible, to play! Tomb Raider III also has an OpenGL option, but this can be played in 3Dfx Glide using MacGLide. Tomb Raider Chronicles has a Carbon version and should run fine natively in Tiger. The TR Level Player (TRLE) Carbon game should also run well, but my tip about switching between the Carbon and classic versions to get around bugs may not work in Tiger Classic.

MacGLide (updated 19 November 2006)

MacGLide is a freeware shared library that replaces the old 3Dfx Glide (Voodoo) classic Mac extension '3DfxGlideLib2.x' - it works by translating the Glide calls to OpenGL. Note that there is now a 'Tomb Raider Special Edition' MacGLide which should provide better support for Tomb Raider I than the standard release! On my setup Tomb Raider I is the only classic TR that absolutely requires me to use MacGLide to run in OS X Classic mode, and it runs well with MacGLide 0.12 (at the time of writing this I've not tried the 'Special Edition').

I've had feedback about MacGLide that may be useful. The suggestion is that it could be worthwhile trying different versions to see which performs best in your own situation. The advice I received indicates that MacGLide 0.11a2 may be the best for general classic TR use in OS X Tiger with ATI graphics, but that there may be some degradation with v 0.12 or 0.13a2. Later versions may improve things so it's a matter of testing in your own situation. It's easy to download and install, uninstall, or update, so it's not too difficult for those who want to test various versions. Note that results could vary depending on many factors, including which version of OS X you're running, and whether you have ATI or NVIDIA graphics. All the different versions are available on, or linked from, the MacGLide download page.

Download MacGLide from SourceForge.

Tomb Raider I & I Gold (Unfinished Business) - TR Trilogy Version

Tomb Raider I is the least compatible TR in OS X Classic mode, due to the age of the game and its primitive graphics support (the original TR 1 was released for PC in 1996). It has support for running in Software, 3Dfx (Voodoo), and RAVE modes. Due to the early RAVE support OpenGL won't run the game correctly, so it's necessary to download and install MacGLide, then restart Classic mode, open the TR1 Setup utility, select 3Dfx in the graphics options, and if necessary tweak the resolution and refresh rates if you still see problems.

Tomb Raider II and II Gold (The Golden Mask) - TR Trilogy Version

Tomb Raider II has support for running in Software, 3Dfx (Voodoo), and RAVE modes. RAVE support in TR 2 is much improved over that in TR 1 so this could well run in OS X Classic without help. Open the Setup utility and select RAVE, and if necessary try tweaking the resolution, refresh rate, and other graphics settings (there are more options for RAVE in TR 2). However if you're unable to get it to run satisfactorily then download and install MacGLide, restart Classic mode, and use the TR 2 Setup to switch to 3Dfx mode and tweak the settings if necessary.

Tomb Raider III and III Gold (The Lost Artifact) - TR Trilogy Version

Tomb Raider III has support for Software, OpenGL, and 3Dfx Glide (Voodoo). The inclusion of OpenGL support could well be successful so try that first. Open the Setup, select OpenGL, and if necessary try tweaking the graphics settings. If this fails then download MacGLide, install it, restart Classic mode, and change the settings to 3Dfx Glide. Note that the Trilogy version of TR 3 was optimised for OpenGL, so although running in 3Dfx was possible, OpenGL gave visibly better results. But if you're running OS X Tiger then it may be necessary to download MacGLide and run in 3Dfx Glide as OpenGL support may be broken.

I have received information from Dave that there may be a problem with playing TR3 Gold under OS 10.4.11 (Classic) where you may experince the same lag present in some of the other classic TRs. The soloution seems to be to open Classic preferences, option click on the Memory/Versions tab (make sure you do this with one of the other tabs selected) and you will find an 'Adjust Memory' button. click this, move the slider further to the right and restart to fix the problem.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (Tomb Raider 4)

The Last Revelation has even more advanced graphics support, but can only be run in OpenGL - there is no support for 3Dfx Glide! Basically here it's a matter of tweaking the graphics settings, resolution, and refresh rates. MacGLide is no use for TR 4. If you're running OS X Tiger then Last Revelation may not be playable - see my notes above about TR in Tiger Classic!

Tomb Raider Chronicles (Tomb Raider 5)

Tomb Raider Chronicles comes with both classic and carbon games and Setup utilities. The carbon version runs very well in my setup, even better than the classic version used in my older Mac! However if for some reason you need to run the classic version, you'll find it only supports OpenGL, but has more graphics options to tweak than The Last Revelation. The classic version of Chronicles may not run at all in OS X Tiger Classic - see my notes above about TR in Tiger Classic!

Tomb Raider Level Player (TRLE)

As for Chronicles, this comes in both classic and carbon versions. In most cases the carbon version runs fine in my setup, but occasionally I need to switch between the carbon and classic versions when a custom level has bugs (the savegames are compatible with both the classic and carbon game). As this game is a modified version of The Last Revelation, my comments for that apply to the classic version of this one as well. This means that in OS X Tiger it may not be possible to run the classic version at all - see my notes above about TR in Tiger Classic!


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