Tomb Raider

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Tomb Raider
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PC Version Cover

Developer(s) Core Design
Publisher(s) Eidos Interactive
Release date(s) October 21, 1996
Genre Third-person shooter/Platform
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen
Platform(s) PlayStation, ported to PC and Mac

Tomb Raider is a 1996 video game originally published by Eidos Interactive and developed by Core Design. The game features the video game character Lara Croft, a buxom female archaeologist in search of ancient treasures, la Indiana Jones. There have been several sequels.


Video games

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Screenshot of Tomb Raider (PlayStation).

The first game was initially released for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC. It was one of the titles responsible for the market dominance by the PlayStation during this period.

The game presents a world in 3D, a series of tombs, and other locations, through which the player must guide Lara, killing dangerous animals and other creatures, while collecting objects and solving puzzles along the way. In later games, Lara's targets become predominantly human, which sparked some criticism from gamers who felt the games were becoming too violent.

This is an earlier example of the 3D genre. The game is a third-person shooter since Lara is always visible. The player's camera follows her, usually over her shoulder or from behind. The game is characterised by the cubic nature of the world in which Lara inhabits. Every ledge, wall, and ceiling sit at 90 degrees to each other, although the game designers used some clever tricks to make this less obvious. A reason for this orthogonality can be explained by the fact the creators took the 2D platform game genre and extended to a 3D world. This is shown through Tomb Raider's game play, which is very reminiscent of older platform games like Prince of Persia, Out of this World, and Flashback that had a heavy focus on timed jumping with interspersed combat with enemies.

Each version of the game has introduced new weapons and moves; by the fourth version Lara can backflip whilst sliding down a rope, turn around in mid-air and grab onto a ledge behind her, all while shooting her pistols.

Included with the PC and Mac release of Tomb Raider: Chronicles was a level editor which allowed players to create their own levels for use with the previous Tomb Raider game engine, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. Fan-built levels are distributed via Tomb Raider fan sites and forums.

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Screenshot of Tomb Raider 2 (PlayStation).

The following versions have been released so far, they are listed in chronological order:

  • Tomb Raider (1996) - PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PC, N-Gage
    • Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword
  • Tomb Raider 2 (1997) - PlayStation, PC
    • Tomb Raider: The Dagger of Xian (4 quests story)
    • Tomb Raider: The Golden Mask (1 quest story)
  • Tomb Raider 3 (1998) - PlayStation, PC
    • Tomb Raider: The Adventure of Lara Croft (4 quests story)
    • Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact (1 quest story)
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1 day Egypt story) (1999) - PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, PC
  • Tomb Raider: Chronicles (4 quests story) (2000) - PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, PC
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness (2 days Paris & Praga story) (2003) - PlayStation 2, PC
  • Tomb Raider: Legend (scheduled March 2006) - PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC (possibly PSP and Xbox 360)

In addition to these Tomb Raider games, there are 2D versions on the Game Boy Color handheld console

  • Tomb Raider: The Nightmare Stone (2000)
  • Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword (2001)

and one for the Game Boy Advance:

  • Tomb Raider: Prophecy (2002)

In 1998, Tomb Raider won the Origins Award for Best Action Computer Game of 1997.

Nude Raider

A development in Lara Croft's history is the so-called "Nude Raider" patch. It is alleged that someone within Eidos created the patch then released it on the Eidos website back in 1996, where it remained for a few hours until Eidos discovered it and removed the patch. However, many people downloaded the patch and uploaded it to different websites. This program, when added to an existing Tomb Raider game, causes Lara to appear naked, which was popular among a certain proportion of gamers. In April 2004, an insider from Eidos reported to a Tomb Raider electronic mailing list that Eidos had begun suing gamers using the "Nude Raider" patches and sent cease and desist letters to servers hosting the "Nude Raider" patch, enforcing their intellectual property of Tomb Raider. It is also reported that Eidos intend to pursue action against unauthorized "home-made" patches for the game, and indeed any other games that the publisher has ownership rights to. However, the complete accuracy of such reports may be called into question, as it is likely that the rumours are exaggerated to an extent.


Most recently, the idea of Tomb Raider has been extended beyond being just a video game, including the 2001 Tomb Raider and 2003 Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life movies, both starring Angelina Jolie.

A fair percentage of fans of the game argue that the film adaptations are a poor tribute to their video game heritage, though Jolie, after some initial published criticism mostly centered around her being an American playing a British character, was considered an ideal choice for the role of Lara Croft. Plans for a third film were revealed in early 2004, but according to CNN they were cancelled due to the box office failure of Cradle of Life.

Comic book

Tomb Raider has been licensed to Top Cow Productions, which published Tomb Raider stories in comic book form. In that, Lara appears in a crossover with Witchblade.

Original novels

Ballantine Books, in conjunction with Eidos, began publishing a series of original novels based upon the video game in the spring of 2004, beginning with The Amulet of Power by Mike Resnick, which was followed by The Lost Cult by E. E. Knight in August 2004 and the violent The Man of Bronze by James Alan Gardner in January 2005. These books generally follow the continuity of the video games (particularly Angel of Darkness) rather than the movies, although Lost Cult does contain a couple of oblique references to Cradle of Life. Man of Bronze differs from the first two books in that it is told in first person form Lara Croft's point of view; it is also considerably more violent.

External links

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