Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Infobox VG| title = Tomb Raider

developer = Core Design,
Aspyr (Mac port)
publisher = Eidos Interactive
designer = Tomb Raider:
Toby Gard (lead graphic artist), Paul Douglas (lead programmer), Martin Iveson and Nathan McCree (music)
Unfinished Business:
Philip Campbell (level designer), Mike Schmitt (producer)
engine = Proprietary/Custom
released = Tomb Raider:
USA: 15 November 1996
UK: 22 November 1996
Unfinished Business:
June 1998
genre = Third-person shooter/Platform
modes = Single player
ratings = CERO: B
ELSPA: 15+
PEGI: 12+ (N-Gage)
USK: 16+
platforms = PlayStation, Sega Saturn, MS-DOS, Macintosh, Pocket PC, N-Gage
media = CD-ROM
requirements =
input = Game controller, Keyboard

"Tomb Raider" is a video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was originally released in 1996 for the Sega Saturn followed shortly thereafter for MS-DOS and PlayStation versions. Tomb Raider was also released into the mobile gaming market, for the Pocket PC in 2002 and the Nokia N-Gage in 2003. "Tomb Raider" follows the exploits of Lara Croft, an English female archaeologist in search of ancient treasures "à la" Indiana Jones. The game was critically acclaimed and widely influential. [cite web | last = GameSpot Staff | title = GameSpot Presents: 15 Most Influential Games of All Time | publisher = GameSpot | year = 2001 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] It spawned a number of sequels and a franchise of related media.



The story opens with a prologue in Los Alamos County, New Mexico. A nuclear test causes an earthquake which exposes an ancient device buried beneath the desert. The device is set into motion and reveals a frozen lifeform. The story then continues in the present day.

After Lara Croft returns from an expedition in the Himalayas she is contacted by an American named Larson, who works for the wealthy businesswoman Jacqueline Natla, owner of Natla Technologies. At Natla's request, Lara sets out on an expedition to recover a mysterious artefact called the Scion from the lost tomb of Qualopec, in the mountains of Peru. However after successfully retrieving the object, she is nearly robbed of it when Larson attempts to kill her outside the tomb. Wasting no time, Lara sets out to discover why Natla double-crossed her, and breaks into her office to find out more about the truth behind the artefact, of which there appears to be more than one piece. She discovers a medieval manuscript which reveals the whereabouts of a second piece of the Scion, which is buried beneath an ancient monastery of St. Francis in Greece. It appears Natla has sent Pierre Dupont, a rival French archaeologist, to recover the fragment from the site. Hot on each others trail, Lara and Pierre race each other through the catacombs of the monastery to get to the second Scion first. The battle comes to a head at the tomb of Tihocan, where Lara recovers the second Scion and finally kills Pierre Dupont. An inscription inside the tomb reveals that Tihocan was one of three joint rulers of Atlantis. At some point a calamity struck which sunk the continent into the ocean and scattered their culture over the world. Qualopec continued to rule in South America, Tihocan in Greece, and it appears a third ruler thrived in Egypt.

Lara travels to the Valley of the Kings where she quickly discovers the third Scion, and is faced with Larson one last time. Upon leaving the tomb however, she is awaited by Natla and her henchmen, who steal the three artefacts from her and nearly kill her. Lara escapes and follows their trail to a remote island, where mining operations of Natla Technologies have partially exposed the Great Pyramid of Atlantis. After making her way through the mines dispatching Natla's goons, Lara reaches the heart of the pyramid chamber, where the three Scions are fused together as a source of power. In a flashback, it is revealed that Natla was the third ruler of Atlantis, and that she betrayed her co-rulers by abusing the power of the Scion amulet for genetic experimentation. As punishment, she was locked into a stasis cell by Qualopec and Tihocan, and buried beneath the ground. The power released by the pyramid and the Scion caused a major cataclysm destroying the once powerful and advanced civilisation. As a result (similar to Easter Island) the survivors lost all their knowledge and power, and had to slowly rebuild from the ground up. Centuries later Natla awoke when the cell was exposed by an earthquake. With her cunning and knowledge she quickly became incredibly rich and powerful around the world.

Having regained the power of the artefacts, Natla attempts to restore her former power with an army of genetic mutants. However Lara manages to destroy the Scion and defeats Natla. The pyramid is destroyed along with the mutants, and the remains of the Atlantean civilisation.


Before commencing the actual game, players may choose to complete a training course set in Lara's home. 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, after which the player is taken to the first level in Peru. Throughout the game, Lara travels across the globe in search for the three artefact parts and the final battle with Natla, in four different locales:

*Peru (4 levels): The game begins in the mountains of Peru, where the player discovers the entrance to the long lost city of Vilcabamba. Deep within the mountains near Vilcabamba, she finds the ancient tomb of Qualopec. The action takes place in valleys and tombs around an Incan city.

*Greece (5 levels): The levels in Greece are set inside the medieval monastery of St. Francis, which was built upon the side of a mountain that conceals layer upon layer of civilization, harking back to the Golden age of Greece and Rome.

*Egypt (3 levels): In Egypt, in a hidden canyon near the Valley of the Kings, Lara explores buried pyramids and a sphinx in a place called the Sanctuary of the Scion.

*Atlantis (3 levels): The final part takes place on a remote island in an unspecified location, where mining operations of Natla Technologies have partially exposed the great pyramid of Atlantis. This is where the mystery unfolds.



In "Tomb Raider", the player controls the female archaeologist Lara Croft, in search for the three mysterious Scion artefacts 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 sometimes obscure this to make it less obvious.

The object of "Tomb Raider" is to guide Lara through a series of tombs and other locations in search of treasures and artefacts. 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. 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 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. [cite web | last = Cope | first = Jamie | title = Tomb Raider: Like shooting gorillas in a barrel. | publisher = Game Revolution | month = December | year = 1996 | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-02] [cite web | last = Pomeroy | first = Ashley | title = Tomb Raider review | publisher = MobyGames | date = 2005-07-25 | url =,1364/ | accessdate = 2007-08-02]


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. 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 defenceless and forced to recover her pistols, a development which later became 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 important 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. Other means by which the game will prematurely end include death by burning, drowning, electrocution, becoming impaled on spikes, being shot, being crushed, lethal damage from animals, human enemies, or creatures and even been turned into gold.

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 artefacts 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 are 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 items.

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 any time feature in "Tomb Raider II".Martin, [ Tomb Raider 2] review, Absolute PlayStation, Retrieved 2007-08-01] The 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, an artefact is recovered, or a boss is destroyed.

Development history

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.Citation | last1 = Blache III | first1 = Fabian | last2 = Fielder | first2 = Lauren | title = The History of Tomb Raider: Series History | year = 2002 | date = 2002 | url = | publisher = GameSpot | pages = 1 | accessdate = 2007-07-31] The title was crafted by Core Design of England, who took 18 months to develop it.Citation | last =Boyer | first = Crispin | title = Straight to the Core... (interview with Andrew Thompson) | newspaper = Electronic Gaming Monthly | pages = 94-96 | year = 1997 | date = August 1997] The team consisted of six people, among them Toby Gard, who is credited with the creation of Lara Croft.Citation | last = Sawyer | first = Miranda | author-link = Miranda Sawyer | title = Lara hit in The Face: Article by Miranda Sawyer | newspaper = The Face | year = 1997 | date = June 1997 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] 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. [cite web | last = Howson | first = Greg | title = Lara's Creator Speaks | publisher = Guardian Unlimited | date = 2006-04-18 | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-02]

As such Lara was born under the name Laura Cruz. "Laura" was later dropped in favour 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 English, hence Cruz was changed to Croft to accommodate this. Personality-wise, Lara was a cold-blooded militaristic type in the early concepts.Citation | last = Sawyer | first = Miranda | author-link = Miranda Sawyer | title = Lara hit in The Face: Interview with Toby Gard | newspaper = The Face | year = 1997 | date = June 1997 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] 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.

The front of the Derby Studios building where Core Design worked on the game was later used as the front of Croft Manor.

It is Core's contention that the company was struggling somewhat with 32-bit development at that time. 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.



Upon its release in 1996, "Tomb Raider" was widely praised by gaming magazines for its revolutionary graphics, inventive gameplay, and involving storyline. [Metacritic, review scores from leading magazines, [ 91/100 metascore] ] Citation | last =Funk | first = Joe | title = Insert Coin (Editorial) | newspaper = Electronic Gaming Monthly | pages = 6 | year = 1997 | date = August 1997 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] 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.Citation | last1 = Blache III | first1 = Fabian | last2 = Fielder | first2 = Lauren | title = The History of Tomb Raider: The Games | year = 2002 | date = 2002 | url = | publisher = GameSpot | pages = 2 | accessdate = 2007-07-31] The resulting sales were consequential, topping the British charts a record three times, and contributing much to the success of the PlayStation. [Citation | last1 = Blache III | first1 = Fabian | last2 = Fielder | first2 = Lauren | title = The History of Tomb Raider: Introduction | year = 2002 | date = 2002 | url = | publisher = GameSpot | accessdate = 2007-07-31] In the previous year, Eidos Interactive had recorded a nearly $2.6 million in pre-tax loss. The success of the game turned this loss into a $14.5 million profit in only a year. [cite web | last = Newsweek | title = Article in Newsweek | publisher = Newsweek | date = 10 June 1997 | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-02]

As one of the top selling games of the PlayStation console, 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. In 1998, "Tomb Raider" won the Origins Award for "Best Action Computer Game of 1997". [Origin Awards, [ List of Winners, 1997] ] The Lara Croft character was prominently featured in the popular media outside the realm of video gaming, for instance on the cover of cutting-edge pop culture magazine "The Face" in June 1997.

Nevertheless, "Tomb Raider" received some criticism for minor camera and object glitches, [Martin & Dave (December 1996), [ Tomb Raider review] , Absolute PlayStation, Retrieved 2007-08-02] as well as its difficult save system. Additionally gamers complained at the lack of action in favour of puzzle solving, although ironically, "Tomb Raider II" would be criticized for its over abundance of violence, especially against human opponents.Citation | last = Price | first = James | title = Analysis: Tomb Raider 3 | newspaper = Official UK PlayStation Magazine | year = 1998 | issue = 39 | pages = 108-111 |date=December 1998]

The success of the Tomb Raider series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 6 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include Most Official Real Life Stand-ins, Highest-Grossing Video-game Movie, and Most Recognizable Female Video-Game Character.Fact|date=September 2008

Cultural icon

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 teenage boys. [Citation | last = Kennedy | first = Helen W. | title = Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis | newspaper = The International Journal of Computer Game Research | year = 2002 | volume = 2 | issue = 2 | date = December 2002 | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-07] [cite web | last = Rodman | first = Adam | title = 'Women in Action-Adventure and Adventure Games: Sexism to the Max | publisher = Just Adventure+ | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-01] 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.Citation | last1 = Blache III | first1 = Fabian | last2 = Fielder | first2 = Lauren | title = The History of Tomb Raider: The Merchandise | year = 2002 | date = 2002 | url = | publisher = GameSpot | pages = 1 | accessdate = 2007-07-31] The amount of media coverage Lara received at the time was previously unheard of, with many magazines even outside the video game industry printing articles on her. Several large corporations, such as Timberland, and Lucozade wanted to use her as their spokesperson. The image of Lara Croft was used by U2 in their PopMart Tour.

Nude Raider

A development in Lara's history is the so-called "Nude Raider" patch. This patch was created externally from Core and Eidos and was never housed on the Eidos or Core websites. The patch, when added to an existing "Tomb Raider" game, caused Lara to appear naked. Contrary to rumour, there is no nude code in any console version of the game. In April 2004, it was 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 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, [cite web | last = IGN Staff | title = 'Nude Raider' Crackdown | publisher = IGN | date = 22 March 1999 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] and Eidos Interactive was awarded the rights to the domain name "". [Legal Technology Insider, " [ E-Business + Law Newsletter 30] " (1999)] As of January 2008, the "nuderaider" domain is registered to Netcorp of Glendale, California and points to a completely generic search engine page.

Versions and expansions

"Tomb Raider" was released for DOS, Macintosh, Nokia N-Gage, Pocket PC, and the PlayStation and Sega Saturn game consoles. Saving methods are different - on the DOS and Macintosh versions, the player can save anywhere, while on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions the player is required to find Save Crystals to save. The DOS version also does not include the additional incidental music during gameplay. The PlayStation & Sega Saturn version only have one kind of ambience, while the PC has four different ambient tracks.

The Greatest Hits edition of the PlayStation version had extra demos and videos of other Eidos games. The early version contained demos for "Tomb Raider II" and "Fighting Force". The next print contained ', "Tomb Raider III", and ' with videos of "Fear Effect" and "Fighting Force 2".

Windows 2000, Windows XP and Vista do not share Windows 9x's full direct hardware DOS support and attempting to run the game from the CD results in a DOS Box flash and then nothing. Solutions to this problem can be found from sites such as [] .

Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business

In 1998, shortly after the release of "Tomb Raider II", "Tomb Raider" was re-released for DOS and released for the first time for Macintosh. This release, titled "Tomb Raider Gold" in North America, and "Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business" elsewhere, featured the regular game as well as four new bonus levels in two extra chapters. The levels for "Tomb Raider Gold" were created in the San Francisco office of Eidos by Phil Campbell, Rebecca Shearin, and Gary LaRochelle. [ [ Tomb Raider Gold release info] ,]

The first chapter of the game takes place in Egypt, and occurs several months after the events of Tomb Raider. The story sees Lara returning to the City of Khamoon to investigate a mysterious statue of the Egyptian goddess Bast. This leads to her discovery of an entirely new temple dedicated to the cat deity, which includes a giant gold statue several stories high. The second chapter takes place before those of the first chapter - quite literally straight after the events of Tomb Raider. This chapter starts with Lara sliding down the same slope as in Tomb Raider's final level, and finishes with her destroying the last remnants of the Atlantean Race.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

The first hint about a 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. [cite web | last = Klepeck | first = Patrick | title = Eidos Outlines 2006 Plans | publisher = | date = 30 September 2005 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] Another hint appeared as a rumour on 30 May 2006: "Eidos/SCi are planning on celebrating Lara's 10th birthday by releasing a remake of her original adventure". [cite web | last = Ashcraft | first = Brian | title = Tomb Raider Remake? | publisher = Kotaku | date = 30 May 2005 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] A video game trailer showing footage of a new "Tomb Raider" game was distributed on the Internet on 8 June 2006. The titles and logos of the trailer claimed that the title was "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition", a PSP game by Core Design. The trailer featured Lara Croft in familiar yet remodelled environments from the original Tomb Raider. On 15 June 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. [cite web | last = Rose | first = Alan | title = Tomb Raider remake for PSP canceled | publisher = Joystiq | date = 16 June 2006 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31]

However, on 16 June, Eidos Interactive officially announced a 10th Anniversary Edition of "Tomb Raider", being developed by Crystal Dynamics instead of Core Design. [cite web | last = Glover | first = Chris | title = Eidos confirms '10th Anniversary Edition' of Tomb Raider | publisher = SCi Entertainment Group | date = 19 June 2006 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] On 30 October 2006 Eidos announced that this new instalment in the series will be named "". The game is a retelling of the first Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider Anniversary was released for PSP, PS2, Wii, [cite web | last = Casamassina | first = Matt | title = Eidos Talks Wii Lara Croft | publisher = IGN | date = 14 May 2007 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-31] and Windows platforms. The PS2 and PC versions were released on 1 June 2007 in Europe, and in the USA on 5 June 2007. The PSP version was released in June, the Xbox 360 version was released in October and the Wii version was released 14 November. The Xbox 360 version of the videogame was made available for download from the Xbox Live Marketplace in November 2007 with the disc being required to use it. However, the game was also released later on disc to retailers, just like all of the other versions. A mobile version of Tomb Raider Anniversary was developed by FinBlade.


The music for "Tomb Raider" was composed by Martin Iveson and Nathan McCree. The game uses a solo oboe melody for the main theme. Variations of this main theme have been used throughout all of the Tomb Raider games. The soundtrack of "Anniversary" was composed by Troels Brun Folmann, but loosely based on the original.

The symphonic sounds of the earlier games were created using Roland Corporation's Orchestral Expansion board for their JV series keyboards.


* On the training level in Lara's mansion, the Ark of the Covenant is jokingly placed in the foyer. In "Anniversary", on the commentaries, it is said that they didn't put it in the new game- one reason was that they weren't sure if there were legal rights to it from the "Indiana Jones" film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark".




ee also

* List of Pocket PC games

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ "Tomb Raider" at] - Contains images, walkthroughs, and media related to the game.
* [ "Tomb Raider" at] - Information, box scan, screenshots and review of the Sega Saturn version.
* [ "Tomb Raider" at] - Information on the game and it's relevant components
* [ "Stella's Tomb Raider Site" at] - Comprehensive series info

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