The Tomb Raider franchise is one of the most well known and popular, in the world. The most recent release of the game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, was a success that saw Lara Croft in top form. Not only was the game a graphical masterpiece, but it also offered players physics based puzzles, an interesting story, and a believable female lead character.
But, go back a decade or two to 1996 and remember what Tomb Raider used to be, and how Lara Croft was in her first adventure. That is to say, remember that Lara Croft used to be no more than an alarmingly peculiar looking sex symbol for teenage boys.
Let’s take a look at how Tomb Raider, and Lara Croft, have evolved since the first Tomb Raider, and how this sexy archeologist has ended up everywhere, from your TV to the reels of pokies online.
Tomb Raider – 1996
Upon first glance one might think that Lara Croft in the 1996 version of Tomb Raider was a graphical mistake. Her proportions are outrageous, and so far from being realistic that they all but make the character seem mutated. Back in 1996, however, Lara Croft became an instant superstar. The Tomb Raider game itself was a new style of game previously unseen, allowing a 3D character, in a fully rendered 3D world, to be guided through a series of jumping puzzles.
The in-game character of Lara Croft hardly resembled the promotional poster, or in-game cutscenes, and was far from being anything close to sexy. Her personal assets, that had been so prominent in the poster, were in fact triangular in the game. So, it was the unique gameplay and platform jumping that really sold the game, and drove it’s overall lasting success.
Tomb Raider Sequels
After the massive success of the first Tomb Raider many more follow-ups were swiftly released. The graphics of the franchise quickly improved, although the gameplay itself remained true to the originals platform jumping design. Notably, Lara Croft was focused on more and more, and her in-game character model advanced dramatically in design.
The first Tomb Raider had seen Lara Croft speak rarely, only in a few cutscenes, but the longer the franchise, the more her character was developed and added too. By the time third and fourth games were released, promotional images in gaming magazines had Lara featured in a swimsuit, and other sexually provocative clothing.
Modern Tomb Raider – 2013 Onwards
The reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise in 2013 dramatically changed up the formula, introducing a Lara Croft that was far less sex symbol, and a great deal more human. The bold move, turning the original concept of the character on it’s head was met with enormous success. Both male and female gamers had a reason to play the game, and the new Lara Croft was met with universal praise.
Lara Croft, having gone from a video game sex symbol to universal appreciate female video game star, is a map of how the video game industry as a whole has evolved. Future releases of the franchise are due, and it is almost certain Lara Croft will live on into the future.