Why Tomb Raider and Lara Croft are still important to video games – Reader’s Fea

Tombraider Lara Croft.0 E0e9 7313950

Artwork from the new Tomb Raider currently in development (Picture; Crystal Dynamics)

A reader explores the enduring appeal of the Tomb Raider games and attributes to the evolving nature of Lara Croft and her adventures.

I’m sure most people will be discussing the upcoming announcement from Xbox and Microsoft, whatever that ends up being. And I do fear that announcement is going to overshadow the release of the upcoming Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered, a release that Tomb Raider fans have been begging for and it’s finally here!

What’s crazy is Tomb Raider is nearing 30 years old, it’ll celebrate this milestone on 24th October 2026. It’s crazy to think the franchise is that old. Tomb Raider is still somewhat modern, thanks to the more recent and highly successful survivor trilogy; the franchise has remained somewhat fresh and even though I and many fans long for old school Lara Croft’s signature wit and sass, reboot Lara did have her charm.

And this is what makes Tomb Raider so special, despite Lara Croft and the games retaining somewhat the same fundamentals – posh brunette, goes to ancient places, kills things, steals things, things fall down, etc. ,etc. – Lara has changed over the years. Tomb Raider has three distinct eras: The Core Design games; Crystal Dynamics Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld (LAU Trilogy); and the aforementioned Survivor trilogy. All eras bought something to the table and all eras have been successful in their own way.

The Core Design games gave a pretty aloof Lara, one that spoke very little, so whenever she did speak, it had an impact. The opening line of 1996’s Tomb Raider she says very clearly, ‘I only play for sport’, a bold statement that shows she loves what she does and that’s what makes her so fun. The LAU trilogy retained a lot of the original Lara’s wit and charm but gave her more emotional resonance. The Survivor trilogy gave a much more vulnerable Lara, young and inexperienced, but still just as capable as her prior incarnations.

The Tomb Raider fan community is a funny one, it’s not the biggest community in gaming but my god they are vocal! There’s the classic fans who hate Crystal Dynamics so much, they want them away from the franchise (despite saving said franchise not once, but twice) and then there’s the fans that appreciate all Tomb Raiders and all Laras and love all the games for what they are.

My hope is that the remastered games will reignite some love for the original games, they really are classics that pretty much set the template for modern action adventure games. The new remastered games will come with modernised controls, which should make the games more accessible, whilst giving purists the tank controls they love.

These games are difficult, so I’m not sure whether people who are fans of the more modern Uncharted games will get on board with PS1 era games that don’t hold your hand and punish you for not thinking through your actions. I hope people will give the games a chance, if they’ve not played them.

My fingers are crossed that the remasters are a success, so it might lead to further remasters of The Last Revelation, Chronicles, and Angel Of Darkness. The latter of which would really benefit from a lovingly remastered game; get the controls working properly and remove some of the strange gameplay elements, that didn’t make sense, and it might make the game finally playable.

Tomb Raider is an important franchise and it’s amazing to finally be able to play legendary games on modern consoles. Tomb Raider has a massive legacy and I can’t wait to look back at the franchise’s roots with a fresh coat of paint, but equally I can’t wait to see what Tomb Raider does next – whatever happens Miss Croft will live on.

By reader Jay

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