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History of Tomb Raider
Lara Biography
Series History
The Games
The Merchandise
The Models
The Movie
Related Links
Table of Contents

By Fabian Blache III, Lauren Fielder
design by Ethan O'Brien

World-class developers and innovators are not the only stars caught in the video game limelight. Players oftentimes want to play titles that have a recognizable character, a mascot, or something they can readily identify with to propel the underlying story along and give meaning to the game. The trend toward making game characters seem like "real" people is increasingly prevalent with each year that passes. Games are now seen, by those who play them, as viable entertainment in lieu of activities like going to movies, so it stands to reason that games are being made less superficial in scope with each installment or generation that passes.

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In the case of Core Design's world-famous Tomb Raider series, the inimitable Lara Croft enjoys a very detailed and well-developed character profile. Lara Croft's virtual personality helps draw you into the game, setting up your relationship of sorts with the game's central character and her resulting plight. Characteristically, in adventure titles, the story is not usually as in depth as those found in the RPG releases. The principal nature of the action-adventure genre has been to initiate a quick entrance into the substance of the gameplay, allowing little time for you to develop a relationship with your onscreen persona. Such is no longer the case. Taking a brief look at some of the more recent hits in the gaming world clearly illustrates this point.

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Metal Gear Solid has its Solid Snake, and Syphon Filter has its Gabe Logan, plus there are Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Spyro the Dragon for fans of all ages to bond with. Yet, amidst all these very recognizable characters, we can neither deny the impact the Tomb Raider series has had on the hybrid action-adventure genre nor the ways in which the game's central character, Lara Croft, has flourished, which was generally unheard of for a nonplatform or RPG game character.

Tomb Raider, introduced in 1996, has been credited with taking the Sony PlayStation to the top of the heap, and its PC sales were nothing to sneeze at either. The sequels have been recognized as "power-ups" and "continues" for the PlayStation's longevity. While those claims may be viewed as overblown PR-infused hype, the games have had such a significant impact on Sony's system (and the PC gamer as well), that they demand to be recognized.

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Despite the overabundance of press coverage that Tomb Raider and Lara Croft have received, there are still some who have not been bitten by the Tomb Raider bug--gamers who have not been riveted to their television or PC monitor for days on end, five years running. For the benefit of the uninformed or those who have just not gotten enough, what follows is an overview and chronology of the history of Core Design's brainchild, Tomb Raider. We chronicle everything about this gaming sensation, from the launch of the first blockbuster title to the motion picture debut on the horizon. So, if you are reading this feature and do not know of what we speak and have no idea who Lara Croft is or what Tomb Raider is all about, we welcome you back to planet Earth and hope you enjoyed your time abroad. Now, let your education begin.

Special thanks goes to Core Design, Brian Kemp - Eidos Interactive, Tomb Raiders www.tombraiders.com, Vision of Lara Croft, EGM, and Prima Publishing.

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