''Tomb Raider III'' was built on an upgraded version of the ''Tomb Raider'' engine that was used in its predecessors. The engine offers better speed efficiency and new graphical features such as coloured lighting and triangular polygons, allowing developers to achieve greater detail and more complex geometry. The game was designed to be more in line with the puzzle-solving gameplay of the original ''Tomb Raider'' as opposed to the more shooting-oriented style of ''Tomb Raider II''. Development of the game was led on the PlayStation console, with the Microsoft Windows version being simply a better-looking conversion of it.
''Tomb Raider III'' was accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign and was a commercial success, selling around six million copies worldwide as of 2009. Although the game received generally favourable reviews from critics, it did not fare as well as its two predecessors, with critics generally agreeing that the game failed to change the same tried and tested formula. The game's difficult and unforgiving gameplay was also noted. An expansion pack, ''Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artefact'', was released in 2000. The expansion includes six levels set in several European locations. ''Tomb Raider III'' was ported to Mac OS computers in 1999 and eventually released as a "PSOne Classic" on the PlayStation Network in 2011.