Eight games, two films, one spin-off game and an updated release of the original game. This year, we are due to see a completely new Lara Croft.
With the imminent release of the Tomb Raider reboot, I decided to take the time to write this article about my experiences of the franchise.
Tomb Raider (1996)
I wasn’t aware of the first Tomb Raider game and have never played the original. I started my Tomb Raider adventure playing Tomb Raider 2, however I later played the updated version of the first game Tomb Raider Anniversary.
Tomb Raider 2 (1997)
This one, for me, is the most memorable as it’s the first one I played. Featured locations include Croft Manor, the Great Wall of China, Venice, Tibet and an underwater sunken shipwreck. I was addicted to this game for a long time; playing it continually, collecting all the secrets along the way and trying to complete each level faster than my previous play-though.
The game was filled with hidden locations, dangerous enemies (sometimes dinosaurs) as well as traps and puzzles. I really enjoyed it and was hooked.
Tomb Raider 3 (1998)
The main focus of this game is to collect four artefacts which form part of a meteor that landed in Antarctica Millions of years ago. The game follows the same gameplay as the previous instalment, however this time Lara travels to India, South Pacific Islands, London, Nevada and Antarctica.
From what I remember, I don’t think I enjoyed this one as much as Tomb Raider 2. That said, it is still a very good game.
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999)
The fourth instalment is set in Egypt, with the exception of the first level which is in Cambodia. Here we see a young Lara finding her taste for adventure.
For me, this is what Tomb Raider is all about - hunting for artefacts in a ancient setting, intertwining myth with fact.
I probably liked this game a bit more than Tomb Raider 3.
Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000)
Following the events in Tomb Raider 4, this game focuses on a few of Lara’s past adventures and gives us more insight into her character.
To be honest, I don’t really remember much about this game apart from the level in Rome. I think I only played this game through once as I was in a rush to find out what happened at the end.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Angelina Jolie stars as Lara Croft. The film has everything that you would expect to find within the games: action, adventure, puzzle solving and a lot of female grunting.
To tell the truth, I’m not a big fan of this film. I would say it barely passes as watchable.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
Did they really have to make a second film? Surely Angelina’s first outing as Lara was bad enough…
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)
A lot of people I have spoken to about the Tomb Raider games say this is the one they dislike the most. The game developer decided to take a different approach to the gameplay in this game, letting the gamer make the choice as to which path to take (this was mainly through interactive conversations between Lara and other characters). This instalment was also the first time the gamer played as a different character (Kurtis Trent) during parts of the gameplay.
I did enjoy playing the game, although I still rate it as the worst in the series.
Tomb Raider: Legend (2006)
This one is my second favourite Tomb Raider game. It has a completely new look and feel, and there is also a new selection of weapons and tools available to Lara. The concept is based around the King Arthur/Excalibur legend. During the game we find out about Lara’s mother and what seems to be a repressed memory of Lara’s first explorations.
Tomb Raider Anniversary (2007)
This is the first Tomb Raider game re-release using the Tomb Raider Legend game engine, giving the original game a new and fresh look. I really enjoyed playing this game as I had missed the opportunity to play it when it first came out.
Again, I have to say I have only played it once. This is why my explanation of the game is so short.
Tomb Raider Underworld (2008)
This game is basically a sequel to Tomb Raider Legend. It continues along the same storyline and expands to include Norse mythology.
I really enjoyed playing this game. I like the way the story unfolds and links back to Lara’s past, and I also enjoyed the inclusion of the Norse myths.
The game did seem to take on a darker tone and felt like it was closing a chapter in Lara’s life.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)
This game is a spin-off of the Tomb Raider series, and I have to say I didn’t like it. It is played from a top-down perspective, which left me disorientated and led to frequent instances of me accidentally killing Lara by allowing her to fall off things or enter traps. There were also cut scenes to this game which took the form of comic book strips, however in my view they failed to entertain or tell the complete story.
I don’t recommend this game at all.
Tomb Raider (2013)
I can’t wait to play this new version of Tomb Raider. Lara is aboard a ship during a violent storm that rips the ship in two. Along with other survives, Lara finds herself stranded on a tropical island and forced to toughen up and survive.
Tomb Raider (2013)
I have heard rumours that there is a new Tomb Raider film to be released in later this year, which is currently in pre-production and awaiting the release of the game. It would be good to see a new version of the film, hopefully without Angelina Jolie.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)
Review to be written
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)
Review to be written
Tomb Raider I-III Remastered (2024)
I am excited to find out that there will be a remaster version of the original three games, i can’t wait to replay them all over again. (hoping the release will mean we will be getting a new Lara Croft game soon)