The Beaten Diaries #11: The Evolution of Lara Croft

MAY ISSUE: POST #28

I am so excited to be writing a post on Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider games. I love her so much and, of course, the games as well. As a character though, she is definitely the one that has inspired me the most. I always wanted to be strong and badass like her (and that is still my goal, to be honest. At the moment, I’m as weak and wimpy as you can get).

On Christmas day 2016, I received a PS4, and along with it Uncharted 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. I personally started up Rise of the Tomb Raider first, and I was absolutely blown away by the graphics. I have no idea how long the game took me to beat (darn the games that don’t have a time counter) but I did get around 67% done overall, obtaining 30% trophies in the process (which actually, isn’t that great. I must go back and get more).

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game which was developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. Released in 2015, it follows the story of Lara (naturally) who uncovers an ancient mystery (unsurprisingly) which places her against the Trinity, a mean mean organisation. She knows that she must reach the secrets in the Lost City before her rivals, and sets out instantaneously to Siberia. I really wish I was her most of the time. I want to pack up my stuff and go uncover some secrets and explore some tombs in a random place in the world, but alas, it’s not meant to be for 22-year-old me (but I can still hope and do some push-ups in the meantime.)

So, who exactly is Lara Croft and what was she like when it all started? 

Lara Croft is the main protagonist for the whole series of Tomb Raider (lucky for us) and she is presented as a very intelligent, athletic woman who specialises in archaeology. She’s also British, and she makes me proud to be British too.

Lara in Tomb Raider (1996)

The first game saw Lara as, well, an intelligent and athletic woman, but also as a woman with ginormous boobs. You just have to mention those, to be honest, and I apologise. The difference between the promotional art and the in-game model is quite amusingly different, as she only consisted of 540 polygons in-game (probably most of those went into her boobs too.) Actually, it’s said that she looked like that because she had a rather disproportionate body, which explains a lot. I’m kind of glad they sorted that out with recent releases. But, with that being said, I like the old look of Lara Croft, and she had quite the impact (I mean, have you seen those old magazine spreads?)

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Lara in Tomb Raider II-Tomb Raider Chronicles (1997-2000)

Of course, there wasn’t too much change over the next couple of years (Tomb Raider II and Tomb Raider III), apart from some tiny fashion changes (which was inevitable since she had to wash her original clothes at some point). She definitely still had a lot of sex appeal during this time, however, I for one just love those retro sunglasses. Can I please have a pair and not look like a lunatic?

Then, the next two games came along, and by golly, they made her curvy. If you think a figure-eight is curvy, then think again. She was even curvier than before somehow. And well, she looked a tad strange in my opinion, but I still love her no matter what they do to her body. She still is the same powerful woman who I grew up loving.

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Lara in Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness-Tomb Raider Anniversary (2003-2007)

And then came the PS2 era, where they actually made her look remotely human. This is definitely my favourite era in terms of my favourite games (as for style, I’m a sucker for those retro boobs and sunglasses). Although, in Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness she did in fact, look dark, with some gloomy lipstick and eyeliner. She looked fairly like her promotional image too, which was a ‘finally, thank goodness for that‘ moment.

Once Tomb Raider Legend came, Lara definitely looked more natural but thankfully, still as robust as ever. And the same goes for Anniversary, with another slight wardrobe change, she came back to us wielding her guns and her ponytail flying about nonchalantly.

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Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)

If you thought that the original 500 polygons was impressive, how about I tell you that she had 32,816 polygons in this game? Oh yeah. I’m not joking. That’s actually quite amazing in terms of video game development over the years. But anyway, she, therefore, looked pretty darn detailed in this title. The only complaint I have is that I wish I didn’t get so lost during the first chapters of the game.

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Tomb Raider-Rise of the Tomb Raider (2013-2015)

And here we go, the most realistic and the most human that Lara Croft has ever been. She is looking, to be honest, impressive looking now. I almost feel as if I’m in the same room with her (I can dream). The reboot in 2013 began the use of motion capture with the games, which explains all of the feelings I just mentioned. Then we have Rise of the Tomb Raider, where, obviously, the graphics exceed them all. I’m not just talking about Lara Croft herself though, because the whole game looks spectacular.

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Of course I missed out a couple of games, such as Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, and also the comics and the Tomb Raider movies. But I’ll write about those at a later date. This post was a simple timeline of the progression of Lara Croft, and I for one can’t wait to see what’s in store for her in the future, and what weird and wonderful expeditions she’s going to take part in.

Finally, I will ask the demanding question, what is your favourite Tomb Raider game? Are you excited for Shadow of the Tomb Raider? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading and Happy Gaming!

-LDG

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