Review The Tomb Raider Franchise

Doctor Omega

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an upcoming action-adventure video game developed by Eidos Montréal in conjunction with Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the third entry of the reboot series starting with Tomb Raider in 2013 and followed by 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider. The game is set to release on 14 September 2018 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


The story takes place after the events of Rise of the Tomb Raider. The protagonist Lara Croft is an archaeologist on a expedition to Latin America looking for a Mayan relic which has a connection to her late father.[1] This same relic is also sought after by Trinity, a paramilitary organization she has been battling before.[2] Trinity wants to deploy this relic to “remake the world”.[1] During the expedition Lara makes a decision which sets off a Mayan apocalypse.[1] Lara then attempts to save the world from this catastrophic Mayan event apocalypse.


Like its predecessor, the game is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. There are numerous adjustments made to gameplay, which is otherwise identical to Rise. The controls for swimming were completely revised, with Lara being hold her breath underwater for a longer period of time due to the introduction of air packets. She also gains the ability to rappel down down a cliff using a rope. Stealth becomes an important part of the game, with Lara being able to disengage from combat when she escapes from enemies' line of sight. Like its predecessors, the game allows players to hunt wild animals, craft materials using the resources collected, solve puzzles and explore optional tombs.[5]


On 15 March 2018 Square Enix confirmed that a sequel to Rise of the Tomb Raider was in development and scheduled to be released on 14 September 2018 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[6][7][8][9] On the same day, a teaser trailer was released showing Lara Croft in a mountainous environment. The game was officially revealed on April 27, 2018 with a trailer, screenshots, and a one hour demo to exclusive members of the press.[2] A season pass was also announced, the pass gives players access to seven "paths" which include new narratives, missions, tombs, weapons, outfits and skills.[10] Unlike the previous entries in the Tomb Raider reboot series which were primarily developed by Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montréal assumed major development duties for Shadow of the Tomb Raider while Crystal Dynamics provided additional development.

Doctor Omega

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Tomb Raider, also known as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider between 2001 and 2007, is a media franchise that originated with an action-adventure video game series created by British gaming company Core Design. Formerly owned by Eidos Interactive, then by Square Enix after their acquisition of Eidos in 2009, the franchise focuses on a fictional British archaeologist Lara Croft, who travels around the world searching for lost artefacts and infiltrating dangerous tombs and ruins. The gameplay generally focuses around action-adventure exploration of environments, solving puzzles, navigating hostile environments filled with traps, and fighting numerous enemies. Additional media has grown up around the theme in the form of film adaptations, comics and novels.

Development on the original Tomb Raider game began in 1993. Its success prompted Core Design to develop a new game annually for the next four years, which put a strain on staff. The sixth game, The Angel of Darkness, faced difficulties during development and was considered a failure at release. This prompted Eidos to switch development duties to Crystal Dynamics, which has been the series' primary developer since then. Other developers have contributed either to spin-off titles within the series or ports of mainline titles.

Tomb Raider games have sold over 63 million copies worldwide. The series has generally met with critical acclaim, with the series being noted as one of the pioneers of the action-adventure genre. Lara Croft herself has become one of the most recognisable video game protagonists in existence, winning numerous accolades and earning places on the Walk of Game and Guinness World Records. Alongside being praised for pioneering female characters in video games, she has also been the subject of controversy due to her sex appeal being used for marketing.

Timeline of release years
1996 Tomb Raider
1997 Tomb Raider II
1998 Tomb Raider III
1999 The Last Revelation
2000 Tomb Raider

2001 Curse of the Sword
2002 The Prophecy
2003 The Angel of Darkness
2006 Legend
2007 Anniversary
2008 Underworld
2010 Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
2013 Tomb Raider
2014 Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
2015 Lara Croft: Relic Run
Lara Croft Go
Rise of the Tomb Raider

2018 Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Doctor Omega

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Lara Croft

Main article: Lara Croft

Lara Croft, the series' central protagonist, as she appears in the 2013 reboot. Despite multiple revisions to her clothing and general physique, her face and hair have remained generally consistent.[49][50]
Lara Croft is the main protagonist and playable character of the series: she is a woman who travels the world in search of forgotten artifacts and locations, frequently connected to supernatural powers.[51][52][53] While her biography has changed throughout the series, her shared traits are her origins as the only daughter and heir of the aristocratic Croft family.[51][54][55] She is portrayed as intelligent, athletic, elegant, fluent in multiple languages, and determined to fulfill her own goals at any cost. She has brown eyes and brown hair worn in a braid or ponytail. The character's classic outfit consists of a turquoise singlet, light brown shorts, calf-high boots, and tall white socks. Recurring accessories include fingerless gloves, a backpack, a utility belt with holsters on either side, and twin pistols. Later games have multiple new outfits for her.[50][56][57][58]

Lara Croft has been voiced and portrayed by many actresses in games: Shelley Blond, Judith Gibbens, Jonell Elliot, Keeley Hawes, and Camilla Luddington. In other media, Croft was voiced by Minnie Driver in the animated series and portrayed by Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander in films. Multiple models and body doubles have also portrayed Croft in promotional material up until the reboot in 2013. Eight different real-life models have also portrayed her at promotional events

Doctor Omega

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The circumstances of her first adventures, along with the drive behind her adventures, differ depending on the continuity. In the original and Legendscontinuities, she is on a plane that crashes in the Himalayas: her journey back to civilisation against the odds help begin her journey towards her adult life as an adventuress and treasure hunter.[51][54] In the original continuity, after her ordeal in the Himalayas, she left behind her privileged life and made a living writing about her exploits as an adventurer, mercenary, and cat burglar.[61][62] In The Last Revelation, Lara was caught in a collapsing pyramid at the game's end, leaving her fate unknown: this was because the staff, exhausted from four years of non-stop development, wanted to move on from the character.[59] Chronicles was told through a series of flashbacks at a wake for Lara, while The Angel of Darkness was set an unspecified time after The Last Revelation, with Lara revealed to have survived. The circumstances of her survival were originally part of the game, but were cut due to time constraints.[59][63]

In the Legends continuity, her mother Amelia was also involved in the crash, and she is partially driven by the need to discover the truth behind her mother's disappearance and vindicate her father's theories about Amelia's disappearance.[64] This obsession with the truth is also present in Anniversary, and ends up bringing the world to the brink of destruction during the events of Underworld.[65][66] Her father is referred to as Lord Henshingly Croft in the original games and Lord Richard Croft in the Legends continuity.[51][54] The Lara Croft subseries take place within this continuity, featuring on smaller side stories that do not contribute to the plot of the main trilogy of the timeline.

In the 2013 reboot continuity, Lara's mother vanished at an early age, and her father became obsessed with finding the secrets of immortality, eventually resulting in an apparent suicide. Lara distanced herself from her father's memory, believing like many others that his obsession had caused him to go mad. After studying at university, Lara gets an opportunity to work on an archaeology program, in the search for the mythic kingdom of Yamatai. The voyage to find the kingdom results in a shipwreck on an island, which is later discovered to be Yamatai, however the island is also home to savage bandits, who were victims of previous wrecks. Lara's attempts to find a way off the island lead her to discover that the island itself is stopping them from leaving, which she discovered is linked to the still living soul of the Sun Queen, Himiko. Lara must find a way to banish the spirit of the sun queen in order to get home. However, she must survive long enough to do it. The aftermath of the events of the game causes Lara to see that her father was right, and that she had needlessly distanced herself from him. She decides to finish his work, and uncover the mysteries of the world

Doctor Omega

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The original Tomb Raider theme was composed by Nathan McCree. He created the original theme music after having discussions with Gard about the character of Lara Croft. Having decided to use Classical English music as an inspiration, he decided to create something simple for the theme song. Its simplicity made rearrangements and orchestrations easy. For his work on the first three Tomb Raider games, he was given fairly minimal briefs, and for Tomb Raider III he was working on the game as a freelancer as he had left the company.[93][94] For The Last Revelation, Peter Connelly replaced Nathan McCree as the main composer, using McCree's music as a basis for his work. He composed the opening theme for The Last Revelation, saying that the opening melody came to him out of the blue, and added Egyptian motifs to fit in with the game's setting. Chronicles was originally going to have a sizeable original opening theme, but due to time constraints the majority of it ended up being discarded, much to Connelly's later regret. Only the opening segment survived.[95] The music for Angel of Darkness, composed by Connelly and Martin Iveson, was the one element of production that did not encounter problems, as recording was finished before the major content cuts happened. Scored using a full orchestra as opposed to the synthesised instruments of previous titles, it was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.[46][95]

For Legend, Troels Brun Folmann composed the music and managed the sound effects. Alongside composing a large amount of music for the game, he created micro-scores for small segments within gameplay.[96] Folmann returned to score Anniversary, doing re-orchestrations of the original score, along with expanding them.[59] For Underworld, Folmann handled the main theme while Colin O'Malley handled the rest of the soundtrack, which featured far less looping music than Legend.[97] The 2013 reboot was scored by Jason Graves, who had become known through his work on the Dead Space franchise. Along with his orchestral style, he created a special instrument to create discordant sounds within the music, and musical elements from around the globe to represent the inhabitants of the game's island location.[98][99] For Rise of the Tomb Raider, the composer was Bobby Tahouri, who had previously worked as assistant composer on video games and theatrical films.[100] Guardian of Light used no original music, instead using extracts from the music of Legend, Anniversary and Underworld.[101] The music for Temple of Osiris was written by Will Roget II, who had originally worked on licensed video games including Star Wars: The Old Republic. Temple of Osiris was the first title in the Lara Croft subseries to have an original score, using Egyptian and Middle Eastern musical elements while creating a new main theme that could be used in future Lara Croft games.

Doctor Omega

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Cultural impact

See also: List of Tomb Raider media

Both the character of Lara Croft and the concepts behind the Tomb Raider franchise have evolved thematically and in popularity since the first game's release in 1996.[115] The success of the game series led to several commercial tie-ins that further catapulted to cultural icon status,[116] including feature spin-off games, feature films, and comics.[117]


Upon release, Tomb Raider became an unexpected success with gamers, reaching the top of sales charts and remaining for a considerable time. It went on to sell over 7 million units worldwide.[59][68] Tomb Raider II was an even greater commercial success, with debut sales higher than the first game and total worldwide sales of 8 million units.[8][68] Despite varying critical receptions, series sales continued to be strong until the release of Chronicles, which sold just 1.5 million units.[68] While The Angel of Darkness met with initial strong sales, it failed to meet expectations. Since the release of Legend, the series has picked up in sales and popularity.[29] The 2013 reboot eventually sold 11 million units, becoming the most commercially successful Tomb Raider title to date.[118][119] As of 2017, the series has sold 63 million units worldwide.[120] In addition to the games' success, the 2001 movie adaptation grossed $275 million, making it the highest-grossing video game adaptation until being overtaken in 2010 by Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.[121]

Multiple video game journalists, including Electronic Gaming Monthly's Crispin Boyer in 1997 and Eurogamer's Martyn Carroll in 2008, have cited the series as a pioneer in the medium, both laying the foundations for and popularising action-adventure and platforming games. Carrol also credited the series for bringing video gaming out into the cultural mainstream.[68][71][122][123] In a different article, Eurogamer also cited The Angel of Darkness as a pioneer of mixing different video game genres.[124] The public's reactions to the series over the years have conversely had a profound effect upon the series' direction and identity, as noted in a 2008 review of the series' history by Develop.[29] In 2006, Tomb Raider was voted one of Britain's top 10 designs in the Great British Design Quest organised by the BBC and the Design Museum. The game appeared in a list of British design icons which included Concorde, Mini, World Wide Web, Grand Theft Auto, K2 telephone box, London tube map, AEC Routemaster bus, and the Supermarine Spitfire.[125][126]

The character of Lara Croft has similarly enjoyed popularity, standing out during her initial appearance in the male-dominated video game market, and continuing to stand out throughout the series' history.[29][59][68][122][123][127] After her debut in 1996, Lara Croft was famously featured on the front cover of British culture magazine The Face, a position previously only held by real-life celebrities. She similarly was featured in Irish rock band U2's PopMart Tour.[59][123] The character was inducted onto the Walk of Game in 2006,[128]and earned multiple mentions in the Guinness World Records: she was recognised as the "most successful human video game heroine" in 2006, and earned six awards in 2010. As part of the latter honours, Guinness World Records editor Gaz Deaves said that the character "epitomises all that's great about video gaming".[129][130] In an article for, Jeremy Parish said that Lara's sex appeal was the main draw for early fans, a facet Eidos exploited for marketing and attempted to emulate in other products. He also cited other writers' statements that her popularity stemmed from player empathy with her ability to survive tough situations, alongside contrasting against weaker female characters such as Princess Peach.[123] However, alongside this praise, she has divided opinion as to her character design and consequent sexuality: particularly among feminist critics, she is both hailed as an empowering figure for women, and a negative role model due to her improbable[clarification needed] proportions. Later, apparently more "realistic" redesigns lessened these criticisms to a degree.

Doctor Omega

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There were initially two film adaptations made in the early 2000s that starred Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2001 and its sequel, The Cradle of Life, in 2003. While both films were financially successful, neither of them were well-received by critics. A reboot starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft was released on 16 March 2018.[17]

A short film called Tomb Raider: The Trilogy was produced in 1998 by Silver Films for the Tomb Raider III launch party, the film was never screened outside the event at the Natural History Museum in London. Producer Janey de Nordwall, who recently found the original digibeta tape, released the short film on the Tomb Raider YouTube page.[18][19] Lara Croft has also been confirmed to make a minor appearance in the 2018 film Ready Player One