Tomb Raider (series)

Tomb Raider (series)

"Tomb Raider" is a series of action-adventure games, comic books, novels, theme park rides, and movies, centring around the adventures of the female fictional British archaeologist Lara Croft. Since the release of the original "Tomb Raider" in 1996, the series developed into a lucrative franchise of related media, and Lara went on to become a major icon of the video game industry. The "Guinness Book of World Records" has recognised Lara Croft as the "Most Successful Human Videogame Heroine" in 2006. Six games in the series were developed by Core Design, and the latest three by Crystal Dynamics. All the games were published by Eidos Interactive, which holds the rights to the "Tomb Raider" trademark and characters of the franchise. To date two movies, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" and "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life", have been produced starring American actress Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft.

Lara Croft

The central character in "Tomb Raider" is the sexy, no-nonsense, British archaeologist Lara Croft, a female character similar to Indiana Jones in search of ancient treasures.

Lara was created by one-time Core designer Toby Gard, and grew out of a number of ideas discarded in early concepts. She appears almost invariably with brown shorts, a blue top, holsters on both sides of her hip for dual wielded pistols and a small brown backpack. Over the course of the series, she has undergone minor adjustments, such as smoother facial features, enlarged (and later reduced) breast size and free moving hair.

Several real-life persons have taken on the role of portraying Lara Croft in flesh, most notably British actresses Nell McAndrew (who was an official model) and Rhona Mitra (in the early days of the games' success), and American actress Angelina Jolie in the "Tomb Raider" movies. In addition, playing Lara at game conventions is a popular type of modelling work. Alison Carroll is the current official portrayer of Lara.

Ten years after the release of the original game, Lara is still one of the most durable and recognisable video game characters. Alternatively viewed as a feminist icon or sexual fantasy, the impact of her character on #A020F0|Over the course of time, the Tomb Raider series canon has undergone various changes or retcons. These changes correspond to the series entering a new medium, such as comic books or film, or being taken over by a new game developer. For example, in the first Tomb Raider game manual, Lara Croft is said to have survived a plane crash in the Himalayas at the age of twenty one, and was later disowned by her parents, who are still living. ["Tomb Raider" game manual ( [,253,12 download] )] However in the comics, Lara lost both her parents and her fiancée in the crash. The films make no mention of a plane crash, Lara's mother died when she was too young to remember, and her father died under different circumstances.

When development of the games was transferred from Core Design to Crystal Dynamics, some of the changes made by the films were incorporated, such as Lara's relationship with her father. Additional changes were made as well: unlike the films, Lara's memories of her mother play a key role in the Crystal Dynamics games. [' game manual ( [,1,2 download] )] [' game manual ( [,1,108 download] )]

No official explanation of the differences has been given, making the canon of previous entries unclear in relation to the current Crystal Dynamics games.

Game features

The original game, titled "Tomb Raider", made its début on the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC. Despite being released on the Saturn first,Verify source|date=March 2008 it was one of the titles responsible for the PlayStation's success in the mid 90s. The games present a world in 3D: a series of tombs, and other locations, through which the player must guide Lara. 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 artefact. In later games, Lara's targets become predominantly human, which has sparked some criticism from gamers who feel the games became too violent.Fact|date=March 2008

"Tomb Raider" 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. Up until "Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness", the game was characterised by the cubic nature of the world in which Lara inhabits. Ledges, walls and ceilings sit at 90 degrees to each other, although the game designers use 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 it to a 3D world. This is shown through "Tomb Raider's" gameplay, which is very reminiscent of older platform games like "Prince of Persia" and "Flashback" that had a heavy focus on timed jumping interspersed with combat. Each game has introduced new weapons and moves; by the fourth game, Lara could backflip off ropes and turn around in mid-air to grab a ledge behind her. "Tomb Raider: Legend" introduced an electromagnetic grapple that Lara can attach to metal objects and can, amongst other things, be used to make rope swings and pull metal objects (and enemies) toward her.

Standard moves in Lara's range of abilities include the somersault, a roll, climbing techniques, the ability to swim, a swan dive manoeuvre, and a handstand. The last two abilities are purely aesthetic and serve no other function in the game. In "Tomb Raider III", a sprinting move was introduced that allowed Lara to quickly speed up while a bar in the lower corner of the screen drained her stamina. In "Tomb Raider: Chronicles", Lara was able to somersault/roll out of crawl spaces higher than ground level.

The storyline is usually driven by the quest for a powerful artefact, with Lara in a race against a sinister shadow league who want to obtain the relic for their own purposes. These artefacts usually possess mystical powers and may be of supernatural, or even alien, origin. Often in the series, the antagonist uses the artefact or bits of it to create terrifying mystical monsters, creatures, and mutants in which Lara must defeat throughout the journey.

List of "Tomb Raider" games


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

Main Games
* "Tomb Raider" (1996) - Sega Saturn, PlayStation, MS-DOS, N-Gage, Pocket PC, Mac Charts: US-No.1, UK-No.1
** "" (1998) - gold edition of Tomb Raider, Windows, Mac
* "Tomb Raider II" (1997) - PlayStation, PC, Mac, Charts: US-No.3
** "Tomb Raider II#Golden Mask" (1999) - gold edition of Tomb Raider II, PC, Mac
* "Tomb Raider III" (1998) - PlayStation, PC, Mac, Charts: Us-No.4
** "" (2000) - PC, Mac - stand-alone expansion pack
* ' (1999) - PlayStation, Dreamcast, PC, Mac Charts: US-No.1, UK-No.1, EU-No.1"'
** "" (1999) - PC - stand-alone bonus level created by Core and the The Times in celebration of the anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb
* "Tomb Raider Chronicles" (2000) - PlayStation, Dreamcast, PC, Mac Charts: US-16
**Tomb Raider Level Editor - PC - The PC version features a disc with the Tomb Raider Editor.
* ' (2003) - PlayStation 2, PC, Mac " Charts: US-27, UK-15"'
* ' (2006) - PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC, PSP, GCN Charts: US-No.2, UK-No.1, Eu-No.2"'
** "Tomb Raider: Legend" (2006) - a 2D version for the Game Boy Advance
** "Tomb Raider: Legend" (2006) - a 2.5D version for the Nintendo DS
** "Tomb Raider: Legend" (2006) - ExEn/Java
* "" (2007) - PlayStation 2, Windows, Mac, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360

Upcoming Games:
*"" - for Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii and Nintendo DS

Other Games:
* "Tomb Raider" (2000) - Game Boy Color
* "" (2001) - Game Boy Color
* "" (2002) - Game Boy Advance
* "Tomb Raider: The Osiris Codex" (2003) - ExEn/Java
* "Tomb Raider: Quest for Cinnabar" (2004) - ExEn/Java
* "Tomb Raider: Elixir of Life" (2004) - ExEn/Java
* "Tomb Raider: Puzzle Paradox" (2006) - ExEn/Java

Tomb Raider Level Editor

The Tomb Raider level editor, Room Editor, is a tool released by Eidos Interactive with the video game Tomb Raider Chronicles in late 2000. Later, it was made available free to download off the Internet. Since then it has enabled players to design new levels of their own, set in locations from the original games or in new locations.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Action Adventure

An interactive DVD was released by Bright Entertainment [] under license from Eidos in 2006, called "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Action Adventure". The game takes advantage of standard DVD player audiovisual capabilities, and the remote control. It has puzzles and action elements, while the story is based on "The Angel of Darkness".

Crystal Dynamics' 10th anniversary remake

On June 16 2006, Eidos announced that Crystal Dynamics was working on a 10th anniversary remake of the original "Tomb Raider" for PS2, PSP, and PC. [cite press release | title=EIDOS CELEBRATES WITH LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: ANNIVERSARY | publisher=SCi Entertainment | date=03/11/2006 | url= | accessdate=4/11/2006] The game uses an enhanced "Tomb Raider Legend" game engine. Eidos's head of brand management Larry Sparks said it is "a one-off title" that would appeal to existing "Tomb Raider" fans, as well as attract new ones. The game was released on June 5 2007 (June 1 in Europe) on PC and PS2 under the title of , and the PSP version was released on August 7 2007. More recently the game was released on the Xbox 360 on October 23 2007 (October 26 in Europe), and the Nintendo Wii version was released on November 13 2007.

Future instalments

After the success of "Legend" (more than 2.6 million units sold worldwide in five weeks [cite press release|title=Trading Update|publisher=SCi Entertainment|date=2006-05-19|url=|accessdate=4-11-2006] ), Crystal Dynamics is planning an eighth instalment in the "Tomb Raider" series. (See "")


The basic instrumentation for the Tomb Raider scores is orchestral, though the games adopt different instrumentation and tone with each instalment in the series. The majority of Tomb Raider music has been created using electronic technology, such as samples and synthesizers (though the soundtrack was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra). cite web |author=Starpulse|title=Credits for AoD|publisher=Starpulse |work=Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Angel of Darkness (PlayStation 2) Credits|url=| accessdate=2008-04-02 ] The symphonic sounds of the earlier games were created using Roland Corporation's Orchestral Expansion board for their JV series modules (JV-1080 Synthesizer Module & SR-JV80-02 Expansion Board). brings the "next generations Lara" and also a new perspective (the constant music) on the "Tomb Raider music", because the first 5 games of the series, not only that uses the same engine but the music remains unchanged (the instrumentation is the only aspect that suffers variations in the earlier games).

Some short in-game tunes of the first 5 games of the series were used to prevent the player about the danger will come. The "danger tunes" are loud and scary. Other short tracks were used after the player discovers a new chamber or reveals new places. On the moment you enter and discover a new chamber, while you are supposed to be gazing at the place and thinking about solving the new puzzle of this chamber, a short track starts playing. The aftermath of this "reveal tunes" is that on the moment they start they trigger the feeling of mystery of the place where you are and the need to unlock its puzzle.

The sound effects of the games are also edited by the main composers of each game.Fact|date=June 2008

The most recognisable sound of the game is a short vibraphone sound which is played when Lara finds a secret element of the game. The sound has been used in the first five Tomb Raider video games, including , though it has some insignificant sound variations. cite web | url= | title=The music of Tomb Raider: Anniversary | author=Troels Brun Folmann | publisher=1up | accessdate=2008-04-09 ]


The idea of "Tomb Raider" was extended beyond being just a video game, including the 2001 movie "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" and the 2003 sequel "Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life", both starring Angelina Jolie.

A fair percentage of fanswho|date=April 2008 of the game argue that the movie adaptations are a poor tribute to their video game heritage, though Jolie, after some initial published criticism mostly centred around her being an American playing a British character, was considered an ideal choice for the role of Lara Croft.

"Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (2001)

A member of a rich British aristocratic family, Lara Croft is a "tomb raider" who enjoys collecting ancient artefacts from ruins of temples, cities, etc. worldwide, and doesn't mind going through death-defying dangers to get them. She is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, weapons training, and foreign languages - and does them all in tight outfits.

The planets of the solar system are going into astronomical conjunction (which occurs every 5,000 years), and a secret society called the Illuminati is seeking an ancient talisman called The Triangle of Light that gives its possessor the ability to control time. The Illuminati need a certain clock/key called the All-seeing Eye to help them in their search, and they have to find it in one week or wait for the next planetary alignment to find it again which will be in another 5,000 years. Lara happens to find the All-seeing Eye hidden in a wall of her mansion. The Illuminati steal it, and Lara gets an old letter from Lord Richard Croft, her deceased father, telling her about the society's agenda (Her father was a defected member, who hid the key). Now, she must retrieve the key and find and destroy the talisman before the Illuminati can get their hands on it.

"Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2003)

Lara Croft returns in the sequel to the original video game based film. This time, she is trying to find Pandora's Box which supposedly contains one of the deadliest plagues on Earth, before evil scientist Jonathan Reiss can get his hands on it. The key to finding the Box, which is hidden in the mysterious Cradle of Life, is an orb that is supposed to be some type of a map. When Croft goes to get the orb, it is stolen by Reiss's henchman and so she recruits an old friend, Terry Sheridan, a former mercenary who spent his last couple of years in prison in Siberia, to come to help. Lara and Terry embark together on an adventure that spans continents in an attempt to regain the orb.

Comic books

"Tomb Raider" has been licensed to Top Cow Productions, which has published a large number of "Tomb Raider" stories in comic book form since 1999. The series ended in 2004 with the release of its final and fiftieth comic book.

Original novels

Ballantine Books, in conjunction with Eidos, began publishing a series of original novels 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 then "The Man of Bronze" by James Alan Gardner in January 2005. They generally followed the continuity of the video games (particularly "Angel of Darkness") rather than the movies, although "Lost Cult" contained references to "Cradle of Life". "Man of Bronze" differs from the first two books in that it is told in first-person narrative from Lara Croft's point of view.

Ballantine's contract only called for three novels, and it is not yet known if the book series will continue.

Theme Park Rides

The film and subsequent sequel, having been distributed & licensed by Paramount Pictures were fair game for inclusion in the six Paramount Parks, theme parks owned and operated by Paramount (and later, CBS Corporation. As such, three "Tomb Raider" rides were opened at various Paramount Parks: (both a HUSS Giant Top Spin at King's Island and a flying roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland) and "Tomb Raider: FireFall" (a suspended HUSS Top Spin at King's Dominion). The Paramount Park's sale to Cedar Fair, L.P. was accompanied by a loss of rights to the Tomb Raider name, and subsequently, King's Island's "Tomb Raider: The Ride" and King's Dominion's "Tomb Raider: FireFall" were renamed "The Crypt" (to which there is much controversy) while Canada's Wonderland's "Tomb Raider: The Ride" was renamed "Time Warp."

With it's investments & licensing pulled from the former Paramount Parks, the Tomb Raider ride franchise was started anew with "Tomb Raider: The Machine" at Movieland Studios, Italy. The ride, manufactured by Zamperla, looks very much like the HUSS Top Spin ride, but is actually a new ride called a Windshear.

The original (and only indoor, themed) at King's Island was celebrated for the way it turned what is generally a typical "boring" thrill ride like a Top Spin (something found at most carnivals) into a highly interactive, themed dark ride complete with lava pits, volcanoes, icicles, and a giant goddess carving on the wall with laser eyes. The ride was synchronized to a specially-made Tomb Raider soundtrack and featured the real, six armed "Durga" goddess and water vase from the first movie, as well as the monkey warrior statues that come to life in the film.


GameTap aired a ten part animated short series called "ReVisioned: Tomb Raider Animated Series" from July 10th, 2007 to November 13th, 2007. The series is comprised of various artistic talent's renditions of Lara Croft. Minnie Driver provides the voice for Lara Croft.


External links

* [ Tomb Raider] - Official site.
* [ Tomb Raider Chronicles] - Media and information from the entire series.
* [ Wikiraider] - Wiki dedicated to the series.

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