Tomb Raider: A Gaming Retrospective

The unrivaled figure of the iconic Miss Lara Croft has arguably been the biggest influence in the realm of female-driven gaming experiences. This beautiful pixelated action hero first made her appearance back in 1996 when ‘Tomb Raider’ first hit shelves and the rest was history. The game initially arrived on PCs as well as popular consoles of the time, the original PlayStation and the Sega Saturn, and it was met with critical acclaim and fast became a worldwide best seller. Now 20 twenty years on the franchise has continued to reinvent itself and with a whole host of various sequels, spin-offs reimaginings and alternative versions already under the franchises belt we thought we would take a look back at the evolution of Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider: A Gaming Retrospective


When Tomb Raider hit shelves in 1996 it was heavily publicized as a game-changing experience. Not just because its’ superior gameplay, graphics and storyline made it stand out amongst much of the competition at the time but also because of the arrival of its iconic leading star, Lara Croft. The choice to make the main player a female heroine was applauded by many tired of dealing with so many games that had previously featured a male counterpart. Of course many believed this to be a gimmick that was simply using the female form in a more exploitative manner and using her sexuality to sell games. Either way she soon became a gaming icon and one of the most recognizable faces in the pixelated world. And she was the face behind many pieces of spin-off merchandise and even inspired other games such as Tomb Raider slot for example.

The original game was a huge success, selling 7.5 million copies, and with most gaming success stories the sequels were bound to come. The Tomb Raider franchise continued to churn out follow-ups that continued to expand this virtual environment as well as develop Lara’s back story and origins.


By the time that ‘Tomb Raider: Legend arrived in stores it had been 10 years since the franchise had began. ‘Legend’ was not just an anniversary-based release but it also served as a special reboot that actually overlooked certain elements of the continuity features in the original series. Then just 1 year later we were treated to ‘Tomb Raider: Anniversary’, a game that was more of a reimagining of the very first game and something that received mixed reviews but was also a good way for a new generation of gamers to introduce themselves to the franchise.

It wasn’t until 2008 that ‘Tomb Raider: Underworld’ was able to continue the series serving as the 8th installment in the franchise and even going some way to tie together certain plot points featured in the ‘Anniversary’ game. And then in 2013 we saw the unveiling of ‘Tomb Raider’ the same named reboot that would reinvent Lara Croft’s origins and bring the series right up to date for the modern gaming audience.