Tomb Raider’s 20th Anniversary
Celebrate with comiccoverage.com as we pay homage to Tomb Raider’s 20th Anniversary by taking a look back on the iconic franchise and heroine, Lara Croft…
Tomb Raider’s 20th Anniversary
It is hard to believe that twenty years have passed since the very first Tomb Raider graced the screens in homes across the world. The lovely Lara Croft flipped and jumped her way through catacombs from South America to Africa, solving puzzles and collecting unique artifacts. What started out as just another action adventure game quickly became a cult classic that spawned a total of sixteen video games, twelve spin off games, two films, four soundtracks, countless novels, comic books, theme park rides and an unlimited amount of cosplays. Lara Croft, Tomb Raider’s protagonist, was even recognized as the “Most Successful Human Video Game Heroine.” The Tomb Raider games have sold over forty five million copies, making it one of the best selling video game series of all time. As we celebrate Tomb Raider’s 20th anniversary, we’ll take a trip back through time and reflect on the beginning of a legendary game and an extraordinary icon.
The Rise of Tomb Raider
After the first Tomb Raider game received rave reviews and sold over seven million copies, the developers at Core Design realized what a gem they really had. Almost one year after the release of the first game came Tomb Raider II. With an amazing plot, beautiful scenery, new weapons, extra moves, several vehicles including a speed boat, and larger weapons it is no wonder that it is the second best selling game in the franchise. Players who had the chance to play Tomb Raider II may remember the code that granted Lara all weapons and unlimited ammo or the code that would cause her to explode. There was even a rumor that there was a code that would allow players to see Lara naked (although the rumor still circulates, actual screenshots have yet to surface). The fact that players could tour the Croft mansion, train in the obstacle course in her back yard, dive in her swimming pool, listen to her sound system, and even lock her annoying butler in the freezer presented a new option for players that wanted a break from all of the action, adventure and puzzle solving.
Following the high from the success of the first two games, Core Designs wowed eager fans with Tomb Raider III. With new moves, even more vehicles, and a few new and improved mechanics, the game picked up where Tomb Raider II left off. While critics remarks were mostly positive, gamers seemed to enjoy it almost as much as the first two. Tomb Raider III went on to sell over six million copies. The first three games became known as the Tomb Raider Trilogy. The developers were on a roll, and in 1999 they released Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. With many new features, better graphics and sound enhancements, players could have a better gameplay experience as they raided tombs in Karnak, Alexandria, Cairo and Giza. Core Design would go on to develop a total of nine Tomb Raider titles, setting the bar for many future video games and developers.
Crystal Dynamics Take on Tomb Raider
After Crystal Dynamics was acquired by the publishing company behind the original Tomb Raider games, Edios Interactive, they were entrusted with the sacred title. Knowing they had some pretty hefty hiking boots to fill, they worked hard to bring a title worth recognition to consoles and PC’s. They did just that with Tomb Raider: Legend in 2006. The game earned the series the strongest critical response that it had received since Tomb Raider II’s release in 1997, and it remains one of the highest rated games in the history of the franchise. Once Crystal Dynamics proved that they could resurrect the franchise, they went on to develop a total of seven games.
The developers brought a new and much needed change to the series in the 2007 and 2008 titles Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Tomb Raider Underworld. They implemented new features into the gameplay, such as the dual-target feature and an upgraded inventory system, using an Active Sonar map and a multi-purpose grappling hook. In 2009 Edios Interactive was acquired by Square Enix and they would be the publishers for all of the developers future games. Crystal Dynamics impressed Lara Croft fans yet again after a three year hiatus from game making when they released the 2013 hit title Tomb Raider. Instead of making the game a sequel to Tomb Raider: Underworld, the developers decided to completely reboot the series, which was an excellent choice for Crystal Dynamics. The game sold more than 1 million copies in less than forty-eight hours of its release and debuted at number one on the charts, becoming the biggest UK title launch in 2013.
Crystal Dynamics recently released their latest title in the franchise, Rise of the Tomb Raider. It was the first title in the series to be sold exclusively on the Xbox One at release. Three months later it would make its move to PC but is still currently unavailable for the PlayStation 4. It was the best-selling Xbox One game during Christmas week, and had sold over one million copies by the end of 2015. At Gamescom 2015, one year before Tomb Raider’s 20th anniversary, Square Enix accidentally revealed that a third game in the rebooted series was in development, so it seems that there will be more to come from the Tomb Raider saga.
Lara Croft Becomes a Legend
When honoring Tomb Raider’s 20th anniversary, we must pay homage to twenty years of the most iconic female lead ever, Lara Croft. With the great success of the Tomb Raider games came the obvious success of Lara Croft. She paved the way for female leads in games, movies, television shows, novels, comics, and in the real world. While she may just be a fictional character, many young women, and men, looked up to her for her heroic efforts, good work ethics, dedication, perseverance, intelligence, strength, honesty, virtuous character, and active lifestyle. While her style and appearance have changed throughout the years, her determined and vivacious personality has remained the same.
She has influenced countless artists, video game developers, writers, cosplayers, actors, and pretty much anyone who had the opportunity to play as her in one of her many game titles. With her pronounced beauty and inspiring intellect, is in no wonder that Lara Croft became the legend that she is today. Happy Birthday Lara Croft. May you go on to raid many more tombs, solve many more puzzles, and influence many more people. I think I’ll go play the 2013 Tomb Raider and attempt to collect the last few trophies. What will you do to celebrate Tomb Raider’s 20th anniversary? Let us know in the comment section below.