Lara Croft

Lara Croft

General VG character
name= Lara Croft


caption= Lara Croft is the protagonist of the Tomb Raider series.
series= "Tomb Raider" series
firstgame= "Tomb Raider" (1996)
creator= Toby Gard
voiceactor= Video Games
Shelley Blond (1996)
Judith Gibbins (1997-1998)
Jonell Elliott (1999-2003)
Keeley Hawes (2006-present)
Animated Series
Minnie Driver
motionactor=Heidi Moneymaker (Underworld)
liveactor= Films
Angelina Jolie

Lara Croft is a fictional character and the protagonist of Eidos Interactive's "Tomb Raider" video game series. Designed by Toby Gard, she has also been featured in movies (in which she was portrayed by Angelina Jolie), comic books, novels, and a series of animated short films. In 2006, Lara was honoured with a star on the Walk of Game, [cite web|url = http://www.walkofgame.com/inductees/inductees.html|title = 2006 Walk of Game Inductees|accessdate = 2007-08-29] and was awarded a Guinness World Record recognising her as the "most successful human video game heroine." [cite web|url = http://uk.gamespot.com/news/6147291.html|title = Lara Croft earns Guinness World Record|accessdate = 2007-08-30|author = Guy Cocker|date = 2006-04-07|publisher = GameSpot] In 2008, she was named second on Gamefly's List of Hottest Chicks Ever. ["Gamefly Presents Hottest Chicks Ever," "PlayStation The Official Magazine" 13 (November 2008): 50.]

Lara is generally presented as a beautiful, intelligent, athletic, and somewhat reckless Englishwoman of noble birth who travels the world in pursuit of priceless artefacts. Known as both an archaeologist and an adventurer, she frequently ventures into ancient, and often very hazardous, tombs and ruins. In addition to traps and puzzles, Lara encounters a variety of enemies including rivals, gangsters, dangerous animals (including dinosaurs), legendary creatures, and supernatural beings. The fantastic nature of her archaeology related adventures have drawn comparisons to Indiana Jones.

Character creation

Initially, designer Toby Gard focused on creating the settings for "Tomb Raider" and the main character was essentially an Indiana Jones clone. When this character was deemed unacceptable, Gard placed his attention on designing a new one. One factor that influenced Gard to use a female character was that he noticed his male co-workers often preferred using female characters in "Virtua Fighter". The redesigned character was initially a South American woman named Laura Cruz. She eventually evolved into an English woman named Lara Croft. Her name was picked from a phone book for sounding "UK friendly."cite video | people = Toby Gard, Jeremy Heath Smith, Ian Livingston (interviews); Keeley Hawes (narrator)| title = - Unlock the Past: A Retrospective Tomb Raider Documentary | medium = Tomb Raider Anniversary Bonus DVD | publisher = Eidos Interactive / GameTap | date = 2007 Also known as ""]

Actor portrayal

Video games

Lara has been voiced by five actresses throughout the video game series:
* Shelley Blond in "Tomb Raider"
* Judith Gibbins in "Tomb Raider II" and "Tomb Raider III"
* Jonell Elliott in ', "Tomb Raider Chronicles", and '
* Keeley Hawes in ', ', ""
* Charlotte Asprey voiced Lara as a child in the flashback sequences of ""

In the upcoming "", Olympic gymnast and stunt woman Heidi Moneymaker is providing motion capture for Lara's movements. [cite web|url= http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/headlines3387.html|title= NEW TOMB RAIDER UNDERWORLD DETAILS|accessdate= 2008-02-11|date= 2008-01-18]

Film and animation

Lara was brought to life by actress Angelina Jolie for the movies ' (2001) and ' (2003). Rachel Appleton portrayed young Lara in the first film.

In the 2007 "", Lara was voiced by Minnie Driver. [ [http://tombnews.com/news/2007070302/ Minnie Driver to voice Lara Croft in ReVisioned] ]

Models

Lara has also been portrayed by the following models for public appearances and promotions:
* Jordan (Katie Price): 'portrayed' Lara Croft at ECTS before official models were cast [ cite web | url=http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/headlines3441.html | title=Katie Price as former Lara Croft girl | publisher=TombRaiderChronicles.com | date=2008-05-20 | accessdate=2008-05-20 ]
* Nathalie Cook: 1996-1997 (mostly unknown before "Tomb Raider" became famous)
* Rhona Mitra: 1997-1998
* Vanessa Demouy: 1997 (hired by a French video game magazine for a photoshoot)
* Nell McAndrew: 1998-1999
* Lara Weller: 1999-2000
* Ellen Rocche: 2000 (hired by Brazilian distributor of Eidos' games to promote "The Lost Artifact")
* Lucy Clarkson: 2000-2002
* Jill de Jong: 2002-2004
* Karima Adebibe: 2006-2008
* Alison Carroll: 2008 to present [cite web|url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1043524/Pictured-The-new-Lara-Croft-unveiled-gymnast---Croydon.html|title=Pictured: The new Lara Croft is unveiled as a former gymnast ... from Croydon! |date=August, 2008|publisher=Daily Mall|language=English|accessdate=2008-08-11]

Nell McAndrew was immediately axed from her stint as Lara in 1999 after posing nude in an issue of "Playboy". This was partly due to the fact "Playboy" printed references to Lara Croft and "Tomb Raider" on the cover (which were quickly removed when Eidos threatened with a lawsuit).

From February 2006, the model role was played by a previously unknown sales assistant from London, Karima Adebibe, then aged 20. [ [http://smh.com.au/news/entertainment/meet-the-new-lara-croft/2006/02/15/1139890784210.html Meet the new Lara Croft - People - Entertainment - smh.com.au] ] She retired in 2008.

Many of the models were united by "FHM" in May 2007 to celebrate the release of "Tomb Raider: Anniversary".

On 11 August 2008, Alison Carroll was revealed as the new promotional face of Lara Croft. cite web|url=http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/fun/gizmo/article1542929.ece|title=Meet the sexy new Lara Croft|last=Weinberg|first=Jonathan|date=11 August 2008 |publisher=The Sun|language=English|accessdate=2008-08-12]

Characteristics

Back story

The "Tomb Raider" game manual tells of Lara's birth to Lord Henshingly Croft and how she was raised as an aristocrat surrounded by wealth and luxury. It also tells how, at the age of 21, she was the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Himalayas and was forced to rely on her wits to stay alive. The incident changed her, and inspired her to forsake her life of comfort and security in favour of travelling around the world alone. This led to her being disowned by her family. ["Tomb Raider" game manual ( [http://support.eidosinteractive.com/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=view&parentcategoryid=175&pcid=12&nav=0,253,12 download] )]

' expanded Lara's back story by describing how, at the age of 16, she accompanied a famous archaeologist named Werner Von Croy on an expedition to Cambodia. The events there created a rift between them, but also fostered Lara's interest in ancient civilizations and artefacts. [' game manual ( [http://support.eidosinteractive.com/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=view&parentcategoryid=174&pcid=11&nav=0,253,11 download] )] According to the memorial statue shown in "Tomb Raider Chronicles" Lara was born in 1968, 28 years before the first game.

However, the original backstory, written in the Tomb Raider manual, has since been altered to fit the plot lines of the games since '. Several flashback sequences in "Legend" show how Lara, at the age of 9, survived a plane crash in Himalayas which led to the mysterious disappearance (and presumed death) of her mother, Amelia Croft. Lara then somehow managed to survive a ten day journey to Kathmandu where she was able to contact her father, Richard Croft. Lara spent the remainder of her childhood under the watchful eye of her father, an archaeologist who allowed Lara to accompany him on archaeological expeditions. "Legend" and "Anniversary" both strongly imply most, if not all, of these expeditions were conducted to discover what happened to Lara's mother. At the age of 18, when her father died under unknown circumstances, Lara inherited the Croft estates along with the title "Countess of Abbingdon." [' game manual ( [http://support.eidosinteractive.com/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=view&parentcategoryid=110&pcid=2&nav=0,1,2 download] )] According to the ' game manual, Lara's pursuits are motivated by the hope that she will learn the truth about her parents' deaths. [' game manual ( [http://support.eidosinteractive.com/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=view&parentcategoryid=167&pcid=108&nav=0,1,108 download] )]

Combat experience

In most appearances, Lara Croft displays an exceptionally high level of combat skill, particularly with firearms. In "Legend", for example, she is able to single-handedly fight her way through a small army of mercenaries. How she attained such proficiency is not explained in the games.

In the film ' a photograph can be seen showing Lara at the centre of a small military unit. This, along with one of the films taglines ("Born into Wealth. Groomed by the Elite. Trained for Combat."), suggests that she may have had formal military experience. In the sequel, ', it is implied that she served with the Royal Marines, and that her service involved battlefield combat. However, none of the games mention or imply military service, making this explanation exclusive to Lara's film backstory.

Both the games and films do show some of Lara's personal training regimen through the various incarnations of her home, Croft Manor. In the first film, she has a dangerous combat robot that she uses for training, and in the second film, she makes a horseback marksmanship tour of her estate. In the games, Croft Manor usually features obstacle courses or a large gymnasium, typically focusing more on Lara's agility and mobility rather than direct combat.

Personality

Lara is consistently depicted as a highly confident, independent, and headstrong person. [Mixture of Tomb Raider official sites] She is also very brave, rarely showing any sign of fear in very dangerous or lethal situations. In the earlier games she is portrayed as being more serious, while in Tomb Raider: Legend, she communicates to Zip and Alister via a headset and often makes jokes with them. In "Legend", she is also shown to have a love for dizzying heights and dangerous ancient traps, much to the dismay of Zip and Alister. In "" (a remake of the first game), what is implied to be her first human kill is portrayed, and she is visibly disturbed by the incident throughout the rest of the game. By contrast, in the first "Tomb Raider", she kills human antagonists without any emotional reaction whatsoever, this is possibly due to the game being less advanced, so less cutscenes were put in. In Legend, human beings are the most common enemies Lara encounters, and it is necessary to kill many of them to progress, although Lara does kill them in self-defence, as they all have some kind of weapon that they attack her with.

Costume and equipment

Lara's classic costume consists of a blue-green sleeveless shirt, light brown shorts, calf-high boots, white socks, fingerless gloves, a small backpack, and a utility belt with two holsters. This outfit (or a close variation) has appeared in nearly every Tomb Raider game to date. Lara may also wear different outfits through the course of the games, such as a wet suit for a watery environment or trousers and a jacket for a colder area. In "Tomb Raider: Legend", her original shirt is replaced with a light-brown short sleeved shirt (though the original still appears in a flashback). [http://www.blackgate.net/blog/wp-content/lara_croft.jpg] Her costume is shown to have changed again in "Tomb Raider: Underworld", as she now wears a brown and black halter top with green and black shorts. [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/17/TombRaiderUnderworld.jpg]

In most games, Lara's default weapon is a pair of dual semi-automatic pistols. These are typically not identified in-game, though they often resemble real life firearms. Lara is usually able to acquire more powerful weapons, such as a shotgun or assault rifle, throughout the course of the games. Lara can also be seen using a grappling hook in one of the cut scenes in "Tomb Raider". However, this was not a part of her standard in-game equipment until "Legend", where it is a magnetic grapple attached to her belt. In "Anniversary", she has a more traditional grapple attached to her belt. In "Legend", Lara also employs a waterproof PDA that displays mission information.

Controversy

rquote|right|I just wish that when she was taken out of my hands they hadn't made her boobs so big.|Toby Gard| [cite web | author= | title=Closer Look: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend
work=www.allxbox.com, allXbox.com Staff, Publisher Mike Leonard| url=http://www.allxbox.com/gamewatcher/closerlook/lara1.asp
accessdate=2007-07-09
]
Some fans,Who|date=September 2008 as well as Lara's original designer Toby Gard, considered Croft's growing status as a sex symbol in the video game fandom through each progressive game sequel—with increasingly gratuitous artwork and advertisements—detrimental to the character, [cite web
author= | title=The extraordinary life of Lara Croft | work=film.guardian.co.uk | url=http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,,506934,00.html
accessdate=2007-07-09
] [cite web |url=http://www.gamedaily.com/games/tomb-raider-anniversary/playstation-2/game-features/the-man-behind-lara/5588/66813/ |title=The Man Behind Lara |publisher=Gamedaily |author=Robin Yang |accessdate=2007-07-09] who gained more attention from her appearance than her tough-as-nails spirit and determination. In response to this, it was stated that she would undergo a redesign and become more "demure" in "Tomb Raider: Legend" for the sake of becoming more appealing to female gamers. [cite web | author= | title= Lara's curves reduced to appeal to female gamers
work=www.smh.com, 2005-05-21 | url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Real-appeal/2005/05/21/1116533572111.html
accessdate=2007-07-09
] However, some of the outfits she wears in this game are more revealing than costumes seen in previous games, with many of them showing cleavage and/or midriff (though most of the available outfits are fairly modest).

Some fansWho|date=September 2008 had been critical of the series for portraying her in an increasingly bloodthirsty manner, and occasionally not giving players the option to avoid lethal force against human characters. "Tomb Raider III" was heavily criticised by someby whom for showing Lara having to fight security guards, Military police officers and tribesmen. [ [http://www.trinity.westhost.com/tomb/misc/character.html Tomb Raiders Traveler's Guide: Editorial] ]

Also controversial (again, in early games of the series) is Lara's killing of wildlife such as tigers, jaguars and other animals.Or|date=September 2008 In response to this, the makers of the 2006 "re-launch" game, "Legend" have toned down the violence of the game.cite web | author= | title= Lara Croft Trades Bust For Brains, Regrets Killing Animals In 'Legend'
work=mtv.com, 2006-03-03 | url=http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1525303/20060302/index.jhtml?headlines=true
accessdate=2007-07-09
] Syn|date=September 2008 While Lara still confronts wildlife (limited to eight big cats and four dogs in the game), it is made clear that she only kills in self-defence and feels remorse when she first has to do so, as indicated in the following exchange from the first level:

:Alister: Why predators attack prey larger than themselves is a mystery.:Lara: And a pity.

Later in the level she states this when she kills another jaguar:

:Lara: Someone picked an unfortunate place to hunt.

Lara also expresses sadness when she witnesses the deaths of her friends during a flashback, and expresses pity upon seeing the frozen corpses of Soviet scientists in the Kazakhstan level. Tomb Raider Anniversary added a subplot where Lara felt guilty when she was forced to kill for the first time.

Cultural impact

Lara Croft is considered by critics and fans alike as one of the most significant game characters in popular culture, [http://www.gamestudies.org/0202/kennedy/ Game Studies - Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis] ] and the most famous female video-game character, as listed by The Guinness Book of World Records. [ [http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=15972 Lara Croft – Record Breaker // GamesIndustry.biz] ]

Lara appeared in many "Lucozade" advertisements during the late 90's, [ [http://www.lanceandeskimo.com/chefelf/bev_lucozade.shtml Extinct Beverage: Lucozade] ] [cite web | title =Animal Logic: Digitising Lara Croft | publisher = [http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/ Tomb Raider Chronicles] | url =http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/animallogic/index.html | accessdate =2007-10-03 - articles for 4 Lucozade commercials] and was the cover girl for popular style magazine "The Face" in 1997. In addition, writer Douglas Coupland dedicated a book to her, analysing the effect of her on pop culture. [ [http://www.spikemagazine.com/1198tomb.php Douglas Coupland: Lara’s Book Lara Croft And The Tomb Raider Phenomenon] ]

Lara made a guest appearance during U2's PopMart Tour [cite web | title =Lara With U2 | publisher = [http://www.cubeit.com/ctimes/ The Croft Times] | date =1997-09-21 | url =http://www.cubeit.com/ctimes/cover019.htm | accessdate =2007-10-03 ] and appeared in a music video by the German punk band Die Ärzte. [ [http://www.tombraideranniversary.com/virtual_01.asp Tomb Raider Anniversary - 10 years of Tomb Raider and Lara Croft ] ] She has also been featured in SEAT car commercials, [cite web | title =Lara Croft TV - Show Reel | publisher = [http://www.laracroft.tv/ Lara Croft TV] | url =http://www.laracroft.tv/showreel/index.html | accessdate =2007-10-03 - SEAT commercials are towards the bottom of the list] and three G4 commercials. [cite web | title =Lara Croft TV - G4 Network | publisher = [http://www.laracroft.tv/ Lara Croft TV] | url =http://www.laracroft.tv/showreel/g4.html | accessdate =2007-10-03 ] In all of these appearances, Lara was represented by computer animation. Lara also appeared in a Visa commercial which featured a live-action Lara, portrayed by Sofia Vergara, interacting with her in-game counterpart. [cite web | title =Animal Logic: Digitising Lara Croft - Visa 'Monster Chase' | publisher = [http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/ Tomb Raider Chronicles] | url =http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/animallogic/visa_monsterchase.html | accessdate =2007-10-03 ] The website Education City parodies Lara Croft in a series of games starring "Klara Loft". [ [http://www.educationcity.com/home/sc/childrens/klara.html] ]

Lara is the subject of a song, "Amami Lara" ("Love me Lara") by the Italian songwriter Eugenio Finardi. The song was presented during the 1999 edition of the Festival della canzone italiana in Sanremo. [cite web | title =Lara at the Sanremo Festival | publisher =The Croft Times | date =1999-02-21 | url =http://www.cubeit.com/ctimes/news/199902/news0362.html | accessdate =2007-10-02 ] [ [http://www.festival.vivasanremo.com/1999.htm Festival di Sanremo 1999] ]

Merchandising

Since becoming a popular video game character, merchandise such as action figures have been released of the character. Action figures of Lara Croft from the first Tomb Raider film were released [http://www.searchamateur.com/games/angelinajolietombraider.htm searchamateur.com] ] and also one of her as she appears in Tomb Raider Legend. A Lara Croft Premium Format Figure was released of Lara in her "Legend" outfit with Excalibur. [ [http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://blogofwishes.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/tomb-raider-lara-croft-figure-1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.blogofwishes.com/%3Fs%3Dgames&h=600&w=400&sz=39&hl=en&start=63&tbnid=7Yi-l4mdA03YzM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=90&prev=/images%3Fq%3DLara%2BCroft%26start%3D60%26gbv%3D2%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN images.google.co.uk] ] A model of Lara in her swimsuit in the Second Tomb Raider film was also made. [ [http://www.starstore.com/acatalog/Lara_Croft_wetsuit_L.jpgwww.starstore.com] ] Pens, with images of the character, Tomb Raider Wallets and Tomb Raider Playing Cards are also among the merchandise released featuring Lara Croft. [ [http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.tombraideranniversary.com/images/merchandise/images/pen_large_01.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.tombraideranniversary.com/merchandise_01.asp&h=800&w=600&sz=63&hl=en&start=4&tbnid=tW1KAxyQ2ic42M:&tbnh=143&tbnw=107&prev=/images%3Fq%3DLara%2BCroft%2BPens%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den images.google.co.uk] ]

ee also

* Girl Heroes
*List of women warriors in folklore, literature, and popular culture

References

External links

* [http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/lara/ Evolution Of Lara Croft]
* [http://www.tombraider.com/ Official "Tomb Raider" Website]
* [http://www.laracroft.tv/pictography/index.html High Resolution Pictures with Lara]


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