- For other Tomb Raider games, see Tomb Raider disambiguation page.
- "I only play for sport..."
- ―Lara Croft[src]
Tomb Raider is a video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was originally released in 1996 for MS-DOS, PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Tomb Raider follows the exploits of Lara Croft, a British female archaeologist in search of ancient treasures à la Indiana Jones. The game was critically acclaimed and widely influential. It spawned a number of sequels and a franchise of related media.
"Lara Croft, daughter of Lord Henshingly Croft, was raised to be an aristocrat from birth. After attending finishing school at the age of 21, Lara's marriage into wealth has seem assured, but on her way home from a skiing trip her chartered plane had crashed deep in the heart of the Himalayas. The only survivor, Lara learned how to depend on her wits to stay alive in hostile conditions a world away from her sheltered upbringing. 2 weeks later, when she walked into the village of Tokakeri by her experience had had a profound effect on her. Unable to stand the claustrophobic suffocating atmosphere of upper-class British society, she realized that she was only truly alive when she was travelling alone. Over the 8 following years she acquired an intimate knowledge of ancient civilizations across the globe. Her family disowned their prodigal daughter, and she turned to writing to fund her trips. Famed for discovering several ancient sites of profound archaeological interest she made a name for herself by publishing travel books and detailed journals of her exploits".
In Los Alamos, New Mexico, a massive explosion caused by a nuclear test unearths an ancient circular device from beneath the earth's surface. In the aftermath of the explosion, the device opens to reveal a person in suspended animation.
In the present day Calcutta, Lara Croft has returned from an expedition to capture Bigfoot and is relaxing in a luxurious hotel when she is approached by a Texan man named Larson Conway. Larson introduces her via videoscreen to his employer, Jacqueline Natla, the owner of Natla Technologies. After failing to sway her with money (Lara only plays for sport), Natla asks for her assistance in acquiring a piece of a talisman known as the Scion, an ancient artifact located in the lost tomb of Qualopec, located in the mountains of Peru. Intrigued, Lara agrees to make the journey. With a guide, Lara travels to the snowy Peruvian Mountains, eventually reaching a massive stone door. After climbing to the top and locating a switch, the door opens, revealing a pack of wild wolves who set themselves upon the guide. Though Lara swiftly uses her dual pistols to dispatch the wolves, she is unable to save the guide and so enters the tomb alone. After trekking through the caves, filled with both wolves and dart traps, Lara reaches the underground village of Vilcabamba, which Qualopec had ruled over before his death. While exploring she finds a large door that leads to a large underground waterfall obscuring the entrance to Qualopec's tomb. The gears for the mechanism that stops the waterfall are located in the Lost World, an ancient valley filled with carnivorous dinosaurs that had survived mass extinction. After battling the velociraptors and T-Rex inhabiting the Lost World, Lara retrieves the gears and stops the waterfall.Inside the tomb, the entrance to Qualopec's resting place is blocked by three gates. Braving traps and velociraptors, Lara finds the switches to unlock all three gates and enters Qualopec's tomb, where she finds his skeleton sitting on a throne, with two mummified corpses standing rigid on either side of him. After noticing that the one of the mummies topples over with a moan after she fires her pistols at it, Lara takes the piece of the Scion from the pedestal in the center of the room. This immediately causes the tomb to begin collapsing, and Lara barely escapes with her life... only to be attacked by Larson, who had followed her to Peru. After disarming and wounding him, Lara interrogates Larson, learning that Natla had sent him to kill her and take the Scion piece, and has also sent fellow treasure hunter Pierre Dupont after the rest of the pieces. After knocking Larson unconscious when he attempts to tackle her, Lara leaves the tomb with the intent to find out why Natla betrayed her. Somewhere in America, Lara breaks into the Natla Technologies building and discovers a medieval monk's journal in Natla's office. The journal reveals that the Scion is Atlantean in nature, and the second piece is located in the tomb of Tihocan, a ruler of Atlantis. The journal points the location of the tomb to Greece.
Following the journal's directions, Lara travels to an ancient monastery known as St. Francis' Folly, where she is almost immediately attacked by lions, gorillas and Pierre Dupont himself. After a brief gun battle, Pierre disappears, leaving Lara to discover a massive chamber with passages leading to four trap rooms representing Greek gods containing the keys to a large door at the bottom of the chamber. After acquiring the keys and unlocking the doors, Lara delves deeper into the tomb. Along the way, Lara comes across many wonders, including a Colosseum, a broken up statue of King Midas whose hand actually turns objects to gold upon contact, and a massive cistern, all the while being randomly attacked by the elusive Pierre. She finally reaches the entrance to Tihocan's resting place after traversing the cistern. As she approaches, one of the centaur statues suddenly transforms in a grotesque, skinless centaur with the ability to throw fireballs. Lara manages to defeat it and enter the tomb, where she is attacked by Pierre once more. Lara finally kills him in the gun battle, and acquires both his powerful magnum pistols and the second Scion piece he had taken from the pedestal. She proceeds into Tihocan's resting place, where she finds both a sarcophagus and a mural stating that Tihocan was one of the "two just rulers of Atlantis", indicating that Qualopec had also been an Atlantean ruler.Lara proceeds to join the two pieces of the Scion together, and receives a vision of Atlantis's destruction. In it, she sees gruesome creatures and a mysterious figure being imprisoned after having the third and final piece of the Scion being taken from them, and hidden in a tomb located in Egypt.
Guided by the vision, Lara acquires a motorbike and travels to the lost City of Kahmoon, an underground complex of ruins and tombs laden with traps. She also encounters mummified panthers who come alive and attack her upon approach, though Lara succeeds in locating the final piece of the Scion beneath a full size Sphinx. She also faces Larson one last time. Though Larson is now determined to kill her, Lara ends his life for good and takes the Scion. After escaping the tomb, Lara is ambushed by Natla and her henchman: a skateboarder, a cowboy and a large dark skinned man. Held tightly by the large man, Lara has her guns and the fully assembled Scion taken from her, but before the henchman can carry out Natla's order to kill her, she breaks free and dives into the river far below. Instead of pursuing, Natla and her henchmen return to her car and head to the coast. Lara returns to her bike and takes off in pursuit, eventually find them taking off in a yacht. Lara drives her motorbike off a raised bit of earth and dives into the water, barely making it to the yacht in time. She stealthily climbs below decks into a storage room and falls asleep from exhaustion.
Lara wakes up sometime later to find that they have arrived at their destination: a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. Lara enters through a coastal cave and discovers Natla's mines, a series of caverns that have been under extensive mining operations. Lara eventually retrieves her pistols from a small hut and defeats the cowboy upon encountering him. She retrieves her magnums and later the Uzis after defeating the skateboarder. She finally defeats the large man outside the excavated entrance to the Great Pyramid of Atlantis, hidden beneath the mountain. After retrieving her shotgun, Lara opens the pyramid doors and enters just as Natla places the completed Scion on a pedestal at the top of the pyramid, restoring power to the entire building.Inside the pyramid, Lara finds the walls covered in pulsating flesh and pods that when hatched release the same mutants she had seen in her vision. Despite daunting odds, Lara makes her way up the pyramid, mostly by ascending the center chamber, an impossibly tall shaft with a pit of lava at the bottom. Along the way, Lara encounters a skinless doppelganger of herself that copies her every move, but manages to trick it into falling into a pit of lava. She also finds herself in a throne room at one point, with two thrones depicting the letters T and Q respectively, representing Tihocan and Qualopec, as well as a third throne bearing the letter N.
Against all odds, Lara reaches the top of the shaft where the Scion is kept. Upon attempting to remove it, Lara receives another vision. In the vision, it is revealed that Natla is the third ruler of Atlantis. Thousands of years ago, she had betrayed her co-rulers by using the Scion for genetic experimentation in order to create an army of mutants. As punishment for her crimes, Natla had her piece of the Scion confiscated and she was imprisoned in a cryogenic device. She remained trapped in that device up until the nuclear test in the prologue.After the vision ends, Lara is greeted by Natla herself. Natla casually reveals that she plans to finish what she had started and create an army of even more powerful mutants in her words to strengthen humanity who she sees has turned into a bunch of langering wimps with natural selection being at an all time low. The first of these mutants is gestating in a large pod on the far side of the shaft. Deciding that the only way to stop Natla would be to destroy the Scion, Lara aimed her pistols, only for Natla to tackle her in a panic and send them both falling into the shaft. Lara manages to save herself while Natla falls to her apparent death, just as the pod hatches and releases a massive mutant that has no legs and so drags itself around on its torso. Lara defeats it and makes her way back to the top of the shaft, where she fires at the Scion and destroys it. The Scion's destruction causes a chain reaction that threatens to destroy the pyramid and Lara has to quickly make her way through collapsing chambers filled with lava. As she nears the exit, she encounters Natla, now showing her true form as an Atlantean and sporting functional wings and the ability to throw fireballs. Lara kills her for good and escapes the exploding island on Natla's yacht.
In Tomb Raider, the player controls the female archeologist Lara Croft, in search of the three mysterious Scion artifacts across the world. The game is presented in third person perspective. Lara is always visible and the camera follows the action from behind or over her shoulder. The world she inhabits is fully drawn in three dimensions and characterized by its cubic nature. Ledges, walls and ceilings sit at 90 degrees to each other (although the game designers used some clever tricks to make this less obvious).
The object of Tomb Raider is to guide Lara through a series of tombs and other locations in search of treasures and artifacts. On the way, she must kill dangerous animals and other creatures, while collecting objects and solving puzzles to gain access to an ultimate prize, usually a powerful artifact. Gunplay is restricted to the killing of various animals that appear throughout each stage, although occasionally Lara may be faced with a human opponent. Instead the emphasis lies on solving of puzzles and performing trick jumps to complete each level. As such, Tomb Raider in essence harkens back to the classical form of platform style gameplay.
Movement in the game is varied and allows for complex interactions with the environment. Besides walking, running, and jumping, Lara can perform side-steps, hang on ledges, roll over, dive, and swim through water. While swimming, an extra status bar appears under the health meter to indicate the amount of breath left in Lara's lungs. In a free environment, Lara has two basic stances: one with weapons drawn and one with her hands free. By default she carries two pistols with infinite ammo. Additional weapons include the shotgun, dual magnums and dual Uzis. At a certain point in the story, Lara will be stripped of all her weapons, leaving the player defenseless and forced to recover her pistols. This development went on to become a staple of the series.
Numerous enemies as well as a variety of lethal traps can bring about Lara's death in Tomb Raider, the most immediate threat of which is falling to death. As the game adopts a platform style approach of progress, well timed jumps must often bring Lara safely to the other side of a ledge or she will plummet to the ground below. Although Lara may survive a drop from high peaks, she will easily break her neck if she performs the dive move even from relatively low heights. Also note that landing on spikes, even if they are jumped upon from ground level, are always fatal unless she walks through them. Running through them results in damage. The various animals that attack Lara, while dangerous in large numbers, are easily avoided and gunned down. Furthermore, they cannot climb on higher platforms and as such remain confined to the rooms they inhabit. Fire is a lethal substance in the game. Should Lara touch it, she will immediately catch fire and die within seconds unless the player manages to dive into a nearby pond. Other means by which the game will prematurely end include drowning, electrocution, being shot, being crushed, and turning to gold by stepping on the Hand of Midas. A general action button is used to perform a wide range of movements in Tomb Raider, such as picking up items, pulling switches, firing guns, pushing or pulling blocks, and grabbing onto ledges. Regular items to pick up include ammo, and small and large medipacks. Game-specific items are keys and artifacts required to complete a stage. Any item that is collected is held onto in Lara's inventory until it is used.
The puzzles that the player encounters across each level vary: pulling specific combinations of levers, a course of timed jumps, avoiding a certain trap or collecting several keystones.
Throughout each stage, one or more secrets may be located. Discovering these secrets is optional, and when the player has found one a tune plays. The locations of these secrets vary in difficulty to reach. Some may be hidden along the roadside in bushes, others require the completion of a hidden course or optional puzzle to be found. The player is usually rewarded with extra med-packs, ammo, and occasionally, new weapons.
In the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions of Tomb Raider, saving the game is restricted to fixed save points within each level, marked by a floating blue crystal. When Lara touches one of these the option to save is made available. The scarcity of these points, however, means that if the player dies, large portions of each level must be replayed, much to the players' frustration. Following criticism on this system, Core implemented a save anywhere at anytime feature in Tomb Raider II, which, in turn, lead to complaints that the game was made too easy. A compromise was reached with Tomb Raider III under the form of "collectible save crystals." The MS-DOS and Mac versions of the game allow the player to save at any time.
A stage is finished when a certain doorway is reached or an artifact recovered, or a boss is destroyed.
- Lara Croft: The heroine of the game, Lara Croft is a British archeologist working for hire to recover lost artifacts, whether from tombs, or the clutches of selfish collectors.
- Jacqueline Natla: A wealthy businesswoman and the owner of Natla Technologies. At the start of the game, she contacts Lara to find the mysterious Atlantean Scion artefact for her in Peru. It is revealed later, that in fact she is one of the three rulers of Atlantis, sentenced to be frozen for her crimes by other two rulers, Qualopec and Tihocan.
- Larson: One of Natla's henchmen, Larson is the trigger-happy American who first brings Lara Croft into contact with Natla. He double-crosses her early in the game and manages to track her down to Egypt later on.
- Pierre DuPont: This dangerous hireling races for the labyrinths of St. Francis Folly's piece of the Scion with Lara. Pierre DuPont is rival French archeologist hired by Natla to recover the second piece of the Scion.
- Bald Man: One of Natla's henchmen who ambushes Lara in Egypt.
- Skater Boy: One of Natla's henchmen who ambushes Lara in Egypt.
- Cowboy - One of Natla's henchmen who ambushes Lara in Egypt.
- Qualopec: One of the ancient rulers of the lost continent of Atlantis, whose tomb is located somewhere in the Andes.
- Tihocan: Another ruler of Atlantis, Tihocan was buried around the isles of Greece.
- Carlos - A Peruvian guide who takes Lara to the mountains of Peru to locate Qualopec's tomb.
- Brother Herbert - A monk who lived at St. Francis' Folly in 1573.
From the options menu, the player may choose to complete the training course in Lara's home before getting started with the main game. This tutorial is designed to get the player acquainted with the basics of the game and includes jumping and climbing techniques on ten vaulting boxes. The story mode begins with an introductory sequence.
Natla sends Lara Croft to Peru, where she discovers the entrance to the long lost tomb of Qualopec high up in the mountains. Here she makes her way through the remains of a civilization that flourished for hundreds of years, in valleys where time stood still. The player must guide Lara through the lost Incan city while encountering enemies that consist of wolves, bats, bears, dinosaurs, and more. The levels in Peru are of an easy difficulty.
This medieval monastery of St. Francis was built upon the side of a mountain that conceals layer upon layer of civilization, harkening back to the Golden age of Greece and Rome. Here Lara battles lions, alligators, and apes as she explores ruins of these ancient civilizations, and races for the second piece of the Scion with a man named Pierre DuPont, who unfortunately entered before Lara did. Stages in this monastery range from average to hard difficulty.
- Level 5: St. Francis' Folly
- Level 6: Colosseum
- Level 7: Palace Midas
- Level 8: The Cistern
- Level 9: Tomb of Tihocan
In a hidden canyon near the Valley of Kings, Lara explores buried pyramids and a sphinx while fighting black panthers, crocodiles, and some surprising mystical mutants. The levels in Egypt are all of hard difficulty.
Lara Croft has tracked down Natla and her goons to a remote island, where mining operations of Natla Technologies have partially exposed the great pyramid of Atlantis. This is where the mystery unfolds. The Atlantis levels are among the hardest in the game.
Expansions and RemakesEdit
Tomb Raider Gold EditIn 1998, Tomb Raider was re-released as Tomb Raider Gold for DOS and Macintosh (being the game's first release on Macintosh). The expansion featured the regular game as well as four new bonus levels in two extra scenarios called Shadow of the Cat and Unfinished Business. The re-release was exclusive to DOS and Macintosh. These bonus scenarios are made free to download.
The game begins with the Shadow of the Cat episode. Lara returns to the City of Khamoon in search of an undiscovered tomb dedicated to the Egyptian cat-goddess, Bastet. The tombs she once explored in the original game have been flooded, allowing access to previously unreachable areas and opening a whole new world of possibilities.
- Level 1: Return to Egypt
- Level 2: Temple of the Cat
Continuing from the exact point the original game ends, Unfinished Business takes Lara Croft back to the bottom of the pyramid. Further studies reveal the existence of a stronghold crawling with surviving creatures guarding an alien hatchery. Lara must destroy the hive before they proliferate and infestate us again.
- Level 3: Atlantean Stronghold
- Level 4: The Hive
The levels for Tomb Raider Gold were created in the San Francisco office of Eidos by Phil Campbell, Rebecca Shearin, and Gary LaRochelle.
- Main article: Tomb Raider: Anniversary
First hint about a remake of the original Tomb Raider was a financial release from SCi Entertainment that revealed a game Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition for PSP, which was supposed to be released in summer 2006. Another hint appeared as a rumor on May 30, 2006: "Eidos/SCi are planning on celebrating Lara's 10th birthday by releasing a remake of her original adventure." A video game trailer showing footage of a new Tomb Raider game was distributed on the Internet on June 8, 2006. The titles and logos of the trailer claimed that the title was Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition, a PSP game by Core Design. The trailer featured Lara Croft in familiar yet remodeled environments from the original Tomb Raider. On June 15, 2006, Core Design released an official statement claiming that the trailer was "an internal presentation of a game that was being developed by Core Design until very recently", and had been completely cancelled by SCi.
However, on June 16, Eidos Interactive officially announced a 10th Anniversary Edition of Tomb Raider, being developed by Crystal Dynamics instead of Core Design. On October 30, 2006 Eidos announced that this new installment in the series will be named Tomb Raider: Anniversary. According to the press release, the game is a retelling of the first Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider Anniversary will be available for PSP, PS2 and DOS platforms on June 5, 2007. In addition, a port onto the Nintendo Wii console has been released, with slightly more features than the other versions.
Fans have attempted remakes of the original Tomb Raider using the Tomb Raider Level Editor. The first remake was entitled the Tomb Raider Conversion Project, headed by the member KingSpyder but, despite releasing some of the levels from Peru, the game was abandoned. Another remake was not attempted until Daoine Sidhe created Tomb Raider: Revised, which was an 'enhanced' remake, and as such, included many areas and work-arounds not in the first game. However, this release neglected to include Lara's Home and the levels of Unfinished Business. In response, the user ggctuk created Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business Remake, which included all four levels of the original expansion pack, in chronological order, as well as Lara's Mansion.
Fans disappointed with the official version of Tomb Raider: Anniversary have created their own version of the game, entitled Tomb Raider: Anniversary Retold. This version of the game was also an enhanced remake, featuring new models and textures, and expanded levels. So far, only the Peru levels have been released.
Preliminary work on Tomb Raider commenced in 1993, but it was not until November 1996 that the game actually saw the light of day as a retail product. The title was crafted by Core Design of Europe, which took 18 months to develop it. The team consisted of six people, among them Toby Gard, who is credited with the invention of Lara Croft. The character went through several changes before Core settled on the version she became famous for. In its earliest conception, Lara Croft was a male placeholder for an as yet undefined character, but as Core decided that puzzles and stealth should be more important to the game than action, they found that these requirements better suited a female character than a classic male action hero.
As such Lara was born under the name Laura Cruz. "Laura" was later dropped in favor of Lara, to appeal more to American audiences. At the same time, her backstory started to shape up and it was decided she should become more British, hence Cruz was changed to Croft to accommodate this. Personality-wise, Lara was a cold-blooded militaristic type in the early concepts. According to Toby Gard, the idea to make her a female Indiana Jones was not present from the beginning, but rather grew naturally out of the development process as the game took its final form.
Lara's famous breast size was in actuality brought about by accident. Toby Gard was messing around with the model when he accidentally blew up Lara's bosom to 150% of what he intended it to be. As he was resizing it back to normal, the other designers saw what he was working on and told him they loved it and that he should keep the increased size.
Interestingly enough, it is Core's contention that the company was struggling somewhat with 32-bit development at that time. It is also rumored that Tomb Raider's publishing company Eidos was near bankruptcy when Tomb Raider was created. The first glints of the game were seen on Sega Saturn development kits. However, ultimately, it would be the PlayStation rendition that would be known best.
Reception and legacyEdit
Upon its release, Tomb Raider was widely praised by gaming magazines for its revolutionary graphics, inventive gameplay, and involving storyline. The level of sophistication Tomb Raider reached by combining state-of-the-art graphics, an atmospheric soundtrack, and a cinematic approach to gameplay was at the time unprecedented. The resulting sales were consequential, Topping the British charts a record three times, and contributing much to the success of the PlayStation. As one of the top selling games of the system, it was one of the first to be released on PlayStation's Platinum series, and its success made Tomb Raider II one of the most anticipated games of 1997. Although the game spawned numerous sequels, often superior in scope and graphics, the original remains the most beloved among fans and critics.
Nevertheless, Tomb Raider received some criticism for minor camera and object glitches, as well as its difficult save system. Some fans complained at the lack of action in favor of puzzle solving, although ironically, Tomb Raider II would be criticized for its overabundance of violence, especially against human opponents.
The game's use of a hard edged, female heroine has been both hailed as revolutionary (breaking away from the male perspective of game playing) and derided as sexist for its stereotypical depiction of a woman designed to appeal to an audience of teenage boys. Nevertheless, Lara caused a sensation in the gaming world and catapulted her to cyber celebrity status. Aside from game appearances, Lara was featured on covers of magazines, in comic books and movies. The amount of media coverage Lara received was at the time unheard of, with many magazines even outside the video game industry printing articles on her. Several large corporations such as Timberland wanted to use her as their spokesperson.
Differences between versionsEdit
Tomb Raider was released for the DOS, Macintosh, and the PlayStation and Sega Saturn game consoles. Saving methods are different; on the DOS and Macintosh versions one can save anywhere, while on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions the player is required to find Save Crystals to save. The graphics on the DOS and Macintosh versions are of superior quality. The Saturn version offers slightly faster gameplay over the PlayStation version but sacrifices some graphical quality. The DOS version also does not include the additional incidental music during gameplay.
The Greatest Hits edition of the PlayStation version has extra demos and videos of other Eidos games. The demos include Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Tomb Raider III, and Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko. The videos include Fear Effect and Fighting Force 2. The DOS and Macintosh versions were later reissued with added bonus levels.
A development in Lara's history is the so-called Nude Raider patch. A patch was created externally from Core and Eidos and was never housed on the Eidos or Core websites. This patch, when added to an existing Tomb Raider game, caused Lara to appear naked. Contrary to rumor, there is no method of creating a nude Lara in any console version of the game. In April 2004, it is falsely alleged that an insider from Eidos reported to a Tomb Raider electronic mailing list that Eidos had begun suing gamers using the Nude Raider patches. Eidos sent cease and desist letters to the owners of nuderaider.com who were hosting the Nude Raider patch, enforcing their intellectual property of Tomb Raider. Sites depicting nude images of Lara Croft have been sent cease and desist notices and shut down, and Eidos Interactive was awarded the rights to the domain name nuderaider.com.
- In 1998, Tomb Raider won the Origins Award for Best Action Computer Game of 1997.
- Tomb Raider pays homage to Indiana Jones in a number of ways, including references to traps from Raiders of the Lost Ark, such as the spiked pits, poison darts, boulders, and the collapsing temples.
- Lara's mansion was modeled after the front of the Derby Studios building where Core Design worked on the game.
- The voice actress for Lara was Shelley Blond, who did not return for further installments of the series.
- Official website
- Tomb Raider at Stella's tomb Raider Site - Walkthroughs, strategy, and savegame files.
- Tomb Raider Wallpapers
- She's Tough, She's Sexy, She's Lara Croft in Eidos' Tomb Raider for the PC, PlayStation, and Saturn