The Many Incarnations of Tomb Raider: Lara Croft
Now it is 2017, and we will be enjoying almost 20 years of Lara Croft as the Tomb Raider. She has had many versions, many looks, and many makeovers, but she is still the one and only Lara Croft! Let us take a look at how much she has evolved over the years, and why we are excited for Alicia Vikander donning the khakis and becoming this day’s Lara Croft!
TOMB RAIDER (1996)
Such a classic icon in the 90’s video game culture
1996! The time of modem internet, brand new Playstations, and the release of the first Tomb Raider game. Never before have polygons and hexagons been used this lavishly to create a stunning female video game character. But underneath all those sharp edges is the Lara Croft that we will all grow to know and love! The controls were a bit crude and we were limited to merely jumping up and down and shooting endless rounds of pistol ammo. But back then, that was enough. Simple and basic compared to all the games of today, but the first Tomb Raider video game of 1996 set the bar and started the craze for all things Lara Croft.
TOMB RAIDER II (1997)
A smoother way to play Lara Croft
Apparently, the first Tomb Raider video game was a smash hit! Because a year later, the sequel was released and we got Tomb Raider II! The edges are a bit smoother this time around and curved, round shapes replaced Lara Croft’s pointy exterior. But the gameplay and the sense of adventure were all still there! Come in guns ablazing as you continue to raid crypts, caves, and tombs as you play through the next big adventure of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider II!
TOMB RAIDER III (1998)
The third installment to the critically acclaimed franchise
After the first two games, it was clear that Tomb Raider was more than just a video game, it was a franchise. You would slowly start seeing Lara Croft in t-shirts, posters, comic books, and even animated shorts. The world just could not get enough of Lara Croft!
The third installment in the series came at us with new innovations that would be the start of an endless process of improving the look and feel of Tomb Raider. The game began to approach a less linear form of gameplay. This feature let you roam a bit further as you were attempting to finish all the levels. The idea of having an ‘open-world’ game was not quite yet ingrained into the systems, but as you trekked and trudged through the many forests and swamps, it started to feel that way. There was more to see and explore, details became clearer and the environment started to interact with you in a way that was unlike and of the previous games. Tomb Raider was becoming more and more engaging.
LARA CROFT LEGEND TIMELINE (2006)
Lara makes her way to the modern age looking better than ever
Tomb Raider started to leap into the modern age of video games. Edges were smoothed out and backgrounds became clearer. This was a time when the look and feel of a game became almost as important as the game itself. Fully-rendered environments smashed through the old and flat backgrounds. Objects like water and branches could directly affect the way you would pass through a path. It could even decide how if you will walk quietly through the forest.
This was also the beginning of player choices in the user-interface. No longer do you just move your character up and down, or left or right, and shoot anything in the way, you start to take an active part in how the game progresses with your choices and your options. Tomb Raider started to become less and less like a flat adventure and shoot em up game, it was starting to become a full-fledged action-RPG.