''Tomb Raider III'' is built on an upgraded version of the ''Tomb Raider'' engine used by 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''. The PlayStation served as the lead platform for the game, while the Microsoft Windows release is simply a better-looking conversion.
''Tomb Raider III'' was accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign and was a commercial success, selling around six million copies worldwide. Although the game received generally favourable reviews, 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. Reviewers also noted the game's difficult and unforgiving gameplay. Eidos released an expansion pack, ''Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artefact'', in 2000. The expansion includes six levels set in several European locations. ''Tomb Raider III'' was ported to Mac OS computers in 1999 and was released as a "PSOne Classic" on the PlayStation Network in 2011.