Tomb Raider 15th Anniversary Character Profile | Lara Croft

By Az Elias 30.10.2011 4


Lara Croft
Not just eye-candy…

One of the most famous faces in video games, Lara Croft is the heroine of the best-selling Tomb Raider series, beginning her first adventure in 1996 on the Sega Saturn. It was on the PlayStation, however, where her game really took off, and continued success has caused the series to sell in excess of 35 million games. Her first Nintendo outing came in the form of Tomb Raider on Game Boy Color in 2000, which had no relation to the main series, with Tomb Raider: Legend being her first Nintendo home console appearance on GameCube. Lara has become a video game icon, with her popularity spawning a variety of merchandise and two Hollywood movies. It is now the 15th anniversary of Lady Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series, and with a much anticipated reboot due for next year, this is a great time to get an in-depth look at the lovely treasure hunter.

Statistics

Age: When Core Design handled the Tomb Raider series, they gave Lara a birth date of 14th February 1968. Lara was supposedly in her late twenties in the first game. Crystal Dynamics removed the year of her birth when they took over the franchise, not giving any specifics on her exact age. Supposedly, they wanted her to be ageless, like James Bond. With the reimagining of Lara in the 2012 game Tomb Raider, she will be 21.

Species: Lara is an English female archaeologist and adventurer.

Location: Lady Croft's home is her inherited mansion of Croft Manor in Surrey, England. Her home acts as her base of sorts, and is full of books and computers for researching, as well as artefacts she has collected from all over the world. She even has a gymnasium and swimming pool to hone her athletic abilities. Lara doesn't tend to stick to one place, however. Over the course of the series, she has visited a vast number of locales across every continent, including China, Egypt, Nepal, Mexico and Antarctica, in the search for mysterious and rare treasures.

Birth: Born in Surrey's Parkside hospital, Lara is the daughter of Lady Amelia Croft and famous archaeologist Lord Richard Croft. She attended Abbingdon Girls School between the ages of three and six, and it became clear Lara was exceptionally gifted. At nine years old, she survived a plane crash in the Himalayas that left her and her mother stranded as the only survivors. Taking shelter in the ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery, Lara found a stone dais holding a sword and activated the artefact. Her mother entered the room and heard something from the light coming from the circle. Amelia pulled the sword and vanished before her daughter's eyes. In the recent games, Lara's motives revolve around searching for mysterious artefacts that she believes can help her find and save her mother.

Main Features: Lara has generally had the same distinct look throughout the series, which makes her so recognisable. She has brown eyes and hair, and usually wears her hair plaited or tied back in a ponytail. Lara always equips herself with her trusty pistols, keeping them in holsters on each side of her thighs. One of the most distinguishable features of Miss Croft is her well-spoken English accent. She is full of witty comments even in the worst of times, and adds a bit of humour to the games. Additionally, Lara can speak a number of different languages, emphasising how intelligent she is.

Clothing: A turquoise sleeveless tank top and light brown shorts are Lara's classic attire. Other clothing includes calf-high boots and fingerless gloves, with her backpack and utility belt making up her famous look. Her original character design had her wearing sunglasses on many occasions as well. Over the course of the series, her wardrobe has expanded to include outfits that suit her location, such as swimsuits for underwater missions and padded jackets for trekking cold and frosty places. Her default turquoise top changed to a brown crop top in later games. Some of Lara's unlockable costumes feature a variety of unique colours and styles, such as gothic and Union Jack designs.

[a href="/media/2011/October/jesusraz/lara5.jpg" target="_blank"]
Image for Tomb Raider 15th Anniversary Character Profile | Lara Croft

 

Concept

Being a lone treasure hunter and archaeologist, Lara is always on the search for mysterious and powerful artefacts, with her having to fend off evil mercenaries intent on stealing the power for themselves. She battles against dinosaurs, wild beasts, sharks, skeletons and a whole host of other enemies, all on top of the people who try to stop her reaching her goal. Throughout the numerous tombs and ruins Lara encounters, she must solve a variety of puzzles in order to get through them. Many traps and dangers await, with large drops, spikes and boulders just some examples of the problems Lara has to deal with. However, Miss Croft has incredible athletic abilities, with her able to perform all manner of flips, handstands and swings that help her to survive these incredible dangers that no other average human could. Furthermore, Lara is skilled in all types of weaponry usage, and her arsenal spans not just her famous pistols, but shotguns, harpoons, assault rifles and grenade launchers, too. Plus, should she need to use it, Lara is competent at hand-to-hand combat, making her a woman you would think twice about messing with. Lara is even capable of driving a host of vehicles, most famously her motorcycle.

Lara was created by graphic artist Toby Gard, who was working for Core Design at the time, a subsidiary of Eidos based in Derby, England. He went through four or five designs before coming to the final outcome. Originally, Gard envisioned a male lead character with a whip and hat, but the idea was put down for being too similar to Indiana Jones by Core co-founder Jeremy Smith. After settling on a female protagonist, Gard wanted to change the stereotypical thoughts on female characters. Pop artist Neneh Cherry and comic book character Tank Girl were some of the inspirations Gard used when designing his new character, and he went through such conceptions as a muscular woman and a Nazi-like militant. Gard eventually went with a tough South American woman with braided hair, named Laura Cruz. Eidos preferred a name that sounded a bit more UK-friendly, and settled on Lara Croft after flicking through a telephone directory. Lara's background was then also changed to that of a British origin, with Shelly Blond being the first voice actress behind her. Five different actresses have voiced Lara in total, including the latest for the 2012 Tomb Raider reboot.

Outside of the world of video games, Lara Croft has earned celebrity status, with some saying she is more popular than the games she stars in. After the huge success of the Tomb Raider series, it did not take long before a Hollywood movie starring Angelina Jolie was made, and this in itself spawned a sequel. Despite mostly negative reviews, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is the second most successful video game-to-movie adaptation to date. A third movie is planned for release in 2013. Such was Lara's popularity, with her appearing on magazine covers and newspaper front pages, Eidos licensed her out for advertisements, including TV adverts for Lucozade, SEAT cars and Visa. Tomb Raider comic books, novels, action figures and other merchandise have been made. A ten-part animated series was even produced, with episodes using different styles and designed by famous comic book and animation talent. Lara Croft was awarded a spot on the Walk of Game in 2006, and holds a number of Guinness World Records through her game and movie success. Official stand-ins have portrayed Lara in the real world too, with a record 10 models to date.

 

Appearances

Lara has appeared in a large number of games that have been released across a great deal of different consoles, although her games have been most successful on PlayStation platforms. Usually, Tomb Raider games are 3D third-person action adventures, but her handheld outings are primarily side-scrolling affairs.

  • Tomb Raider (SS, PS, PC)
  • Tomb Raider II (PS, PC)
    [li] Tomb Raider III (PS, PC)
    [li] Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (PS, PC, DC)
    [li] Tomb Raider (GBC)
    [li] Tomb Raider Chronicles (PS, PC, DC)
    [li] Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword (GBC)
    [li] Tomb Raider: The Prophecy (GBA)
    [li] Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (PS2, PC)
    [li] Tomb Raider: Legend (PS2, XBOX, X360, PC, PSP, GC, GBA, DS)
    [li] Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PS2, PSP, X360, PC, Wii)
    [li] Tomb Raider: Underworld (PS2, PS3, X360, PC, Wii, DS)
    [li] Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (PS3, X360, PC)
    [li] The Tomb Raider Trilogy (PS3)
    [li] Tomb Raider (2012) (PS3, X360, PC)

 

 

Best Appearance

The original game in the series, Tomb Raider, is probably regarded as the best by most long-term fans. Tomb Raider is more about platforming and puzzle-solving than it is gun-play, and Lara uses her flexibility and athleticism to climb and bypass traps and other dangers through the ruins and tombs she explores. In her first adventure, Lara's goal is to locate the three pieces of the Atlantean Scion artefact. Upon learning that the condemned and freed previous joint-ruler of Atlantis, Jacqueline Natla, is intent on using the power of the Scion to create a race of mutant creatures, Lara makes it her mission to destroy the treasure and put an end to Natla.

No other Tomb Raider game has matched the first's sales of over 8 million, despite Tomb Raider II coming close and being the best-selling Tomb Raider game on the PlayStation. The game is seen as one of the most influential in the Industry, with most future 3D action adventure games taking inspiration from it. It was also revolutionary in the sense that it featured a female heroine as the protagonist, and since then Lara herself has claimed the status of most recognisable female video game character.

 

Do Not Mention...

Despite Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Tomb Raider Chronicles being the lowest-selling games in the main series, it is actually the PS2's first, and Core Design's last, Tomb Raider game that is regarded as the worst so far. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was positive on many levels. It featured improved graphics, a great soundtrack and a good storyline, but it was riddled with a large amount of bugs, a poor control and combat system, and bad camera. This led The Angel of Darkness to be mostly criticised by reviewers.

There can be simply no denying the massive popularity and influence Lara Croft has had on the video game Industry. Whether you play video games or not, just about everybody has heard of the English treasure hunter. Despite the Tomb Raider series facing some difficulty in the past, good sales of Legend and Underworld and great reviews for Guardian of Light prove the franchise can still perform. The series needs a bit of a boost though, and the 2012 reboot of Tomb Raider looks like it could bring Lara's popularity right back up, especially now Eidos has merged with Square Enix. In this darker, grittier and mature new game, a 21-year-old Lara will have to survive a shipwreck and endure physical and emotional torture, all paving the way for her to become the strong-willed and hardened adventuring archaeologist we know her as today. Hopefully it will be a fantastic game and put Lara Croft on course for plenty more tomb raiding for years to come.

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Comments

Angel of Darkness is to Tomb Raider what Sonic 2006 is to Sonic. An uncontrollable mess of a game. Smilie

I've been a big fan since playing the first game on the Sega Saturn. Love almost all the games including the 2 GBC games. The GBA Prophecy game is a little repetitive and bland though.

It's a shame that Anniversary sold as much as it did as it was an improvement over Legend in every way.

In the pre-Legend biography, Lara's parents were both still alive. Lara was in a plane crash at the age of 21 and this made her turn to adventure and archaeology. Her parents, being complete snobs, disowned her. Smilie

Spot on about her pre-Legend bio, Ifrit. Was debating whether to include both bios, but thought it best to go with the most recent one since that's what the story is for the current games which are on the recent Nintendo platforms.

I love the Tomb Raider games, although I haven't played every single one yet. Was recently replaying Underworld for all the treasures, but work distracted me and now Uncharted 3 is around the corner! I seriously urge people to give the series a go. The Tomb Raider Trilogy on PS3 is ideal and under £10 (Legend, Anniversary and Underworld), although Wii-only owners will have to buy them separate - don't know how Anniversary and Underworld compare to the HD versions, but if they're cheap, worth a go. I have Legend on PS2 though, and that was quality (also on GameCube and 360).

Ifrit, did you play Lara and the Guardian of Light? I was so impressed, and it's one of my games of the generation, hands down.

I'm pumped for Tomb Raider 2012 too, and debating whether to go on a blackout for it, I'm that hyped. I get chills rewatching the trailer every time.

( Edited 30.10.2011 23:30 by Azuardo )

The only Tomb Raider I've played is the demo of TR1. It took me hours to find out you could jump and grab the ledge of a rock.
The demo was fascinating, but there was something about the control and graphics that kept me from wanting the full thing.

I really can't wait for TR 2012. Whilst I hope they keep as much of the classic TR "spirit" that they can, I do love that they're trying something completely different. I'm just glad Square-Enix bought Eidos when they did as it's given Crystal Dynamics a bigger budget and more time to develop the game. Smilie

Azuardo said:
don't know how Anniversary and Underworld compare to the HD versions, but if they're cheap, worth a go. I have Legend on PS2 though, and that was quality (also on GameCube and 360).

Anniversary is pretty much the same on every platform with the Wii extras/controls being the only difference. Anniversary is also very well ported to the PSP too (though any1 thinking of getting Legend on PSP should stay away as it's awful!)

Ifrit, did you play Lara and the Guardian of Light? I was so impressed, and it's one of my games of the generation, hands down.

Yeah I got it on the 360 when it went on sale. One of the best arcade games you can get on the HD systems. If I had known it was as good as it is, I probably would have bought it day 1 at full price as it's well worth it.

( Edited 27.10.2016 01:15 by Azuardo )

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