Okay, did you forget it all? What? You didn’t remember anything? Well Square Enix has just announced today that they are rebooting the Tomb Raider series, by releasing TOMB RAIDER. Finally we will get to explore the first adventure of a young and inexperienced Lara Croft, probably before she even learned how to do hand stands. Maybe even before she fought a Dinosaur! Well, in case you are not keeping up on the Lara Croft saga, let me refresh you on it so you can, in the words of Darrell Gallagher (Head of Studio, Crystal Dynamics), “Forget everything you knew about TOMB RAIDER, we are exploring things that have never been done before in this game”.
Back in 1996 Lara Croft was introduced to the world in Tomb Raider (not to be confused with the upcoming TOMB RAIDER) and for the time it was pretty unique. The whole 3rd person action genre was still working stuff out and our boxy buxom lady was running around a fully 3D world like an elegant tank sort of stuff on rails. The game was fun because you had to push and pull blocks to solve puzzles much like all real archeologists do and occasionally fight a bear or Aztec warrior. And the plus side was you could move the camera around to look at her massive triangular boobs. Boob rendering was also at its infancy.
The game took off, some how the world didn’t care much for Pitfall Harry anymore, a new lady was in town and over the course of a few years Tomb Raider 2 and 3 came out. Of course after number 3, the franchise was starting to get stale, sure the boob technology got better, Lara started moving a bit better and the strange, convoluted plot of a grown woman traveling the world, solving puzzles and pissing off indigenous people started wearing thin. So they announced Tomb Raider: Revelations, the fourth Tomb Raider title.
What was so special about this title? Well, they decided to start the story with a young, teen-aged Lara Croft and explore her origins. The game basically tells the origin of Lara Croft as her weird former mentor Werner Von Croy teaches her how to spelunk with the best of them. Nice, a reboot, try to keep up with me now. So the Last Revelation turned out to be the first adventure for Lara, and certainly not the last Lara game. Next we would have The Tomb Raider Chronicles out in the year 2000 which continues the adventures of young Lara, taking place just days after the last one. I’m pretty sure nobody remembers this one since nobody purchased it and Lara went away until about 2003 (globe trotting adventure games took a hit with all the travel problems of 9/11 too).
Her sixth title, Angel of Darkness was a return to the young Lara storyline introduced in The Last Revelation, when the title was originally rebooted to keep things fresh. Trying to topple popular shows like X-Files and Millennium in terms of confusion and overtly complicated worldly plots, the story naturally makes no sense at all. It is also a pretty clear departure from the real world of Lara collecting artifacts and dealing with governments, to full blown magical items and conspiracy theories.
Sometime in 2006, the 7th Lara Croft title appeared. Tomb Raider Legend was just about fed up with the crazy plots and international spy crap teenage Lara was getting into and decided to open up with a flashback to a pre-teen Lara. Traveling with her mother their plane goes down leaving little Lara and her mom the sole survivors. They stumble into an ancient temple and little Lara activates an artifact and makes her mom disappear. Tricked by the opening cinematic, you might have expected to fight your way out of the temple as a preteen Lara, but the game made the brave return to fully adult Lara, which we haven’t seen since 1998!
The return to classic Lara must have sparked something, because a year later Tomb Raider Anniversary came out, a remake of the first game in the Tomb Raider Legend engine. What was once old is new again! Then in 2008 the last traditional Tomb Raider title, Underworld came out and oddly had nothing to do with fighting vampires or werewolves. It picked up the story of Legend and maybe Anniversary, who knows, these things never end or start properly anyway. Either way Lara was back in a temple looking for things, probably King Arthur or whatever Indiana Jones hasn’t found yet. She ends up battling with a clone of herself and watching her assistant get killed in a fire. The strange world spy conspiracy of her youth is thankfully not here, but somehow she now must find Thor’s Hammer to get access to the underworld, another strange twist in the history of Lara Croft.
But who cares about all that. Now Square Enix have taken over the reigns of the Lara Croft story and have decided to do something never before seen, reboot the franchise! I think they are calling it a reboot simply because nobody has any idea what the hell Lara Croft has been doing for the last decade or so. How do you pick up a story line where she basically built a suit of magical armor to go to hell and save the world? You reboot the thing, again! Then remind your audience to forget about all that crap!Last 5 posts by Brian Jones
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