Tomb Raider 1 - Atlantean Scion

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was originally released in 1996 for the Sega Saturn followed shortly thereafter for MS-DOS and PlayStation versions. Tomb Raider was also released into the mobile gaming market, for Windows Mobile Professional in 2002, the Nokia N-Gage in 2003 the US PlayStation Network in 2009, and was released on the EU PlayStation Network on 1 September 2010. Tomb Raider follows the exploits of Lara Croft, an English female archaeologist in search of ancient treasures à la Indiana Jones. The game was commercially and critically successful, and is considered widely influential. It spawned a number of sequels and a franchise of related media.


The story opens with a prologue in Los Alamos County, New Mexico. A great explosion causes an earthquake and exposes an ancient device buried beneath the desert surface. The device unlocks and reveals a person in suspended animation. The story then continues in the present day.

At a hotel in present day Calcutta, Lara Croft is contacted by an American named Larson, who works for the wealthy businesswoman Jacqueline Natla, owner of Natla Technologies. At Natla's request, Lara sets out on an expedition to recover a mysterious artefact called the Scion from the lost tomb of Qualopec, in the mountains of Peru. However after successfully retrieving the object, she is attacked by Larson who attempts to claim it. She bests him, however, and questions him, learning that the artefact she has is only a fragment, and that a man named Pierre Dupont has been hired by Natla to collect the rest.

Lara breaks into Natla Technologies to find out where Natla has sent Pierre. She discovers a medieval monk's journal, which reveals the depths of an ancient monastery of St. Francis in Greece to house the tomb of Tihocan, a ruler of Atlantis, along with a second piece of the Scion. Travelling to the monastery, Lara descends through an expansive underground complex, pursued and attacked throughout by Pierre Dupont. At the tomb of Tihocan, Lara recovers the second piece of the Scion and finally kills Pierre. An inscription inside the tomb states that Tihocan was "one of the two just rulers" of Atlantis.

When Lara joins the two pieces of the Scion, she receives a vision of the three Atlantean rulers and their respective pieces of the Scion. One of them utilizes it to create a mutant breed, but the other two confront her, and take her piece of the Scion. Then Atlantis is struck by a fireball from the skies, and the three pieces of the Scion become scattered as the civilization is destroyed. One of them goes to Egypt, Lara's next destination.

Lara travels to the City of Khamoon, a temple complex in Egypt that houses the final fragment. Here she battles the fierce mutants seen in her vision, and is once again confronted by Larson, this time in a battle to the death. She then takes the final piece of the Scion from the underground sanctuary. Upon leaving the tomb, however, she is ambushed by Natla and her henchmen, who steal the three artefacts and nearly kill her.

Having escaped, Lara sneaks onto their boat, which takes her to a remote island where mining operations of Natla Technologies have partially exposed the Great Pyramid of Atlantis. After making her way through the mines dispatching Natla's goons, and the mutant-infested interior of Atlantis, Lara reaches the heart of the pyramid chamber, where the complete Scion has been fused together as a source of power. Touching it, Lara receives another vision, where Natla is revealed as the previously seen third ruler of Atlantis. She betrays her co-rulers by abusing the power of the Scion for genetic experimentation, and as punishment is locked in a stasis cell by Qualopec and Tihocan, her resting place until the prologue of the game.

Natla enters the chamber and confronts Lara; having reclaimed the artefacts, she attempts to restore her former power with an army of mutants. Lara throws her into a chasm, however, apparently killing her, and confronts her newest breed, a huge, legless mutant. She then destroys the Scion, starting a chain reaction of collapse in the pyramid. As she makes her way out she meets Natla a final time, now mutated and winged. After besting her, Lara flees the island as it is destroyed in a great explosion along with the mutants, and the remains of the Atlantean civilization.



In Tomb Raider, the player controls the female archaeologist Lara Croft, in search for the three mysterious Scion artefacts across the world. The game is presented in third person perspective. Lara is always visible and the camera follows the action from behind or over her shoulder. The world she inhabits is fully drawn in three dimensions and characterized by its cubic nature. Ledges, walls and ceilings mostly sit at 90 degrees to each other, but sometimes feature sloping planes.

The object of Tomb Raider is to guide Lara through a series of tombs and other locations in search of treasures and artefacts. On the way, she must kill dangerous animals and other creatures, while collecting objects and solving puzzles to gain access to an ultimate prize, usually a powerful artefact. Gunplay is restricted to the killing of various animals that appear throughout each stage, although occasionally Lara may be faced with a human opponent. Instead the emphasis lies on solving puzzles and performing trick jumps to complete each level. As such, Tomb Raider in essence harkens back to the classical form of platform style gameplay.


Movement in the game is varied and allows for complex interactions with the environment. Besides walking, running, and jumping, Lara can perform side-steps, hang on ledges, roll over, dive, and swim through water. In a free environment, Lara has two basic stances: one with weapons drawn and one with her hands free. By default she carries two pistols with infinite ammo. Additional weapons include the shotgun, dual magnums and dual Uzis. At a certain point in the story, Lara will be stripped of all her weapons, leaving the player defenceless and forced to recover her pistols, a development which later became a staple of the series.

Numerous enemies as well as a variety of lethal traps can bring about Lara's death in Tomb Raider, the most important threat of which is falling to death. As the game adopts a platform style approach of progress, well timed jumps must often bring Lara safely to the other side of a ledge or she will plummet to the ground below. Other means by which the game will prematurely end include death by burning, drowning, electrocution, becoming impaled on spikes, being shot, being crushed, mauled by animals, human enemies, or creatures and even being turned into gold.

A general action button is used to perform a wide range of movements in Tomb Raider, such as picking up items, pulling switches, firing guns, pushing or pulling blocks, and grabbing onto ledges. Regular items to pick up include ammo, and small and large medipacks. Game-specific items are keys and artefacts required to complete a stage. Any item that is collected is held onto in Lara's inventory until it is used.

The puzzles that the player encounters across each level vary: pulling specific combinations of levers, a course of timed jumps, avoiding a certain trap or collecting several keystones.

Throughout each stage, one or more secrets may be located. Discovering these secrets is optional, and when the player has found one a tune plays. The locations of these secrets vary in difficulty to reach. Some are hidden along the roadside in bushes, others require the completion of a hidden course or optional puzzle to be found. The player is usually rewarded with extra items.

In the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions of Tomb Raider, saving the game is restricted to fixed save points within each level, marked by a floating blue crystal. When Lara touches one of these the option to save is made available. The scarcity of these points, however, means that if the player dies, large portions of each level must be replayed, much to the players' frustration. Following criticism on this system, Core implemented a save anywhere at any time feature in Tomb Raider II. The DOS and Mac versions of the game allow the player to save at any time.

A stage is finished when a certain doorway is reached, an artefact is recovered, or a boss is destroyed.


Tomb Raider, the first entry in the series, depicts Lara’s quest to acquire the Scion of Atlantis and starred the following characters:

  • Lara Croft
  • Jacqueline Natla: The main antagonist of the game, Natla is an ancient queen of Atlantis, posing in modern times as a wealthy businesswoman and the CEO of Natla Technologies. Reassembling the Scion is key to her ultimate plan.
  • Larson Conway: One of the mercenaries hired by Jacqueline Natla to retrieve the Scion from Lara Croft. He carries a revolver with him, which she wounds him really bad at the end of the Sanctuary Of The Scion level.
  • Pierre Dupont: A treasure hunter hired by Jacqueline Natla to retrieve the Atlantean Scion from the tomb of Tihocan, in Greece. His weapons are a pair of Magnums, which Lara can take from him after killing him in the Tomb Of Tihocan.
  • The Cowboy: One of Jacqueline Natla's hired mercenaries. Along with another two hired thugs and Natla herself, the Cowboy ambushes Lara and steals both her guns and the now assembled Scion in Egypt. In the following level, Lara must fight the Cowboy in Natla's Mines so that she can retrieve the Magnums.
  • Jerome "The Kid" Johnson: Another of Natla's hired mercenaries, a teenage skateboarder who attacks his targets with dual mini SMGs. He is the second enemy Lara encounters in Natla's Mines in order for her to retrieve the Uzi guns.
  • "Kold" Kin Kade: A large African-American henchman, he is the last of Natla's hit men that Lara encounters in Tomb Raider. Lara confronts him near the end of Natla's Mines. His weapon of choice is a large shotgun that Lara can pick up after defeating him.
  • Doppelgänger: One of the strange creatures created by Jacqueline Natla, this particular creature mimics all Lara's moves. If Lara shoots at her both of them will get hurt. the creature is also skinless like the rest of Natla's mutants.
  • Qualopec: One of the ancient rulers of the lost continent of Atlantis, whose tomb is located in Peru.
  • Tihocan: Another ruler of Atlantis, Tihocan was buried in Greece.
  • Lord Henshingly: Lara’s father is briefly mentioned in the game manual, but does not appear in the game itself.

Development history

Preliminary work on Tomb Raider commenced in 1993, but it was not until November 1996 that the game actually saw the light of day as a retail product. The title was crafted by Core Design of Derby, England, who took 18 months to develop it. The team consisted of six people, among them Toby Gard, who is credited with the creation of Lara Croft. The character went through several changes before Core settled on the version she became famous for. In its earliest conception, Lara Croft was a male placeholder for an as yet undefined character, but as Core decided that puzzles and stealth should be more important to the game than action, they found that these requirements better suited a female character than a classic male action hero.

As such Lara was born under the name Laura Cruz. "Laura" was later dropped in favour of Lara, to appeal more to American audiences. At the same time, her backstory started to shape up and it was decided she should become more English, hence Cruz was changed to Croft to accommodate this. Personality-wise, Lara was a cold-blooded militaristic type in the early concepts. According to Toby Gard, the idea to make her a female Indiana Jones was not present from the beginning, but rather grew naturally out of the development process as the game took its final form.

The front of the Derby Studios building where Core Design worked on the game was later used as the front of Croft Manor.

It is Core's contention that the company was struggling somewhat with 32-bit development at that time. The first glints of the game were seen on Sega Saturn development kits. However, ultimately, it would be the PlayStation rendition that would be known best.

Tomb Raider was released for DOS, Macintosh, Nokia N-Gage, Pocket PC, and the PlayStation and Sega Saturn game consoles. The PlayStation & Sega Saturn version only have one kind of ambience, while the PC has four different ambient tracks.

The Greatest Hits edition of the PlayStation version had extra demos and videos of other Eidos games. The early version contained demos for Tomb Raider II and Fighting Force. The next print contained Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Tomb Raider III, and Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko with videos of Fear Effect and Fighting Force 2. Yet another edition included no playable demos, but rather a trailer for the Chicken Run video game and a viewable preview of the (at the time) upcoming PlayStation 2 game TimeSplitters.

Windows 2000, Windows XP and Vista do not share Windows 9x's full direct hardware DOS support and attempting to run the game from the CD results in a DOS Box flash and then nothing. Solutions to this problem can be found from sites such as, or running the game in an emulator such as DOSBox.

Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business

In 1998, shortly after the release of Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider was re-released for Windows and released for the first time for Macintosh. This release, titled Tomb Raider Gold - The Shadow Of The Cat in North America, and Tomb Raider: Unfinished Business elsewhere, featured the regular game as well as two new expert chapters (Return to Egypt and Temple of the Cat) in four levels, two levels each. The levels for Tomb Raider Gold were created in the San Francisco office of Eidos by Phil Campbell, Rebecca Shearin, and Gary LaRochelle.

The first chapter of the game takes place in Egypt, and occurs several months after the events of Tomb Raider. The story sees Lara returning to the City of Khamoon to investigate a mysterious statue of the Egyptian goddess Bast. This leads to her discovery of an entirely new temple dedicated to the cat deity, which includes a giant gold statue several stories high. The second chapter takes place before those of the first chapter—quite literally straight after the events of Tomb Raider. This chapter starts with Lara sliding down the same slope as in Tomb Raider's final level, and finishes with her destroying the last remnants of the Atlantean Race.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

The first hint about a remake of the original Tomb Raider was a financial release from SCi Entertainment that revealed a game Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition for PSP, which was supposed to be released in summer 2006. Another hint appeared as a rumour on 30 May 2006: "Eidos/SCi are planning on celebrating Lara's 10th birthday by releasing a remake of her original adventure". A video game trailer showing footage of a new Tomb Raider game was distributed on the Internet on 8 June 2006. The titles and logos of the trailer claimed that the title was Lara Croft Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition, a PSP game by Core Design. The trailer featured Lara Croft in familiar yet remodelled environments from the original Tomb Raider. On 15 June 2006, Core Design released an official statement claiming that the trailer was "an internal presentation of a game that was being developed by Core Design until very recently", and had been completely cancelled by SCi.

However, on 16 June, Eidos Interactive officially announced a 10th Anniversary Edition of Tomb Raider, being developed by Crystal Dynamics instead of Core Design. On 30 October 2006 Eidos announced that this new instalment in the series would be named Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary. The game is a retelling of the first Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider Anniversary was released for PSP, PS2, Wii, and Windows platforms. The PS2 and PC versions were released on 1 June 2007 in Europe, and in the USA on 5 June 2007. The PSP version was released in June, the Xbox 360 version was released in October and the Wii version was released 14 November. The Xbox 360 version of the videogame was made available for download from the Xbox Live Marketplace in November 2007 with the Tomb Raider: Legend disc being required to use it. However, the game was also released later on disc to retailers, just like all of the other versions. A mobile version of Tomb Raider Anniversary was developed by FinBlade.



Upon its release in 1996, Tomb Raider was widely praised by gaming magazines for its revolutionary graphics, inventive gameplay, and involving storyline. The level of sophistication Tomb Raider reached by combining state-of-the-art graphics, an atmospheric soundtrack, and a cinematic approach to gameplay was at the time unprecedented. The resulting sales were consequential, topping the British charts a record three times, and contributing much to the success of the PlayStation. In the previous year, Eidos Interactive had recorded a nearly $2.6 million in pre-tax loss. The success of the game turned this loss into a $14.5 million profit in only a year.

As one of the top selling games of the PlayStation console, it was one of the first to be released on PlayStation's Platinum series, and its success made Tomb Raider II one of the most anticipated games of 1997. In 1998, Tomb Raider won the Origins Award for Best Action Computer Game of 1997. The Lara Croft character was prominently featured in the popular media outside the realm of video gaming, for instance on the cover of cutting-edge pop culture magazine The Face in June 1997. In the final issue of the Official UK PlayStation Magazine, the game was chosen as the 4th best game of all time.

Nevertheless, Tomb Raider received some criticism for minor camera and object glitches, as well as its difficult save system. Additionally gamers complained at the lack of action in favour of puzzle solving, although ironically, Tomb Raider II would be criticized for its over abundance of violence, especially against human opponents.

The success of the Tomb Raider series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 6 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include Most Official Real Life Stand-ins, Highest-Grossing Video-game Movie, and Most Recognizable Female Video-Game Character.

Cultural icon

The game's use of a hard edged, female heroine has been both hailed as revolutionary (breaking away from the male perspective of game playing) and derided as sexist for its stereotypical depiction of a woman designed to appeal to males. Nevertheless, Lara caused a sensation in the gaming world and catapulted her to cyber celebrity status. Aside from game appearances, Lara was featured on covers of magazines, in comic books and movies. The amount of media coverage Lara received at the time was previously unheard of, with many magazines even outside the video game industry printing articles on her. Several large corporations, such as Timberland, and Lucozade wanted to use her as their spokesperson. The image of Lara Croft was used by U2 in their PopMart Tour.

Nude Raider

A development in Lara's history is the so-called Nude Raider patch. This patch was created externally and was never housed on the Eidos or Core websites. The patch, when added to an existing Tomb Raider game, caused Lara to appear naked. Contrary to rumour, there is no nude code in any console version of the game. In April 2004, it was falsely alleged that an insider from Eidos reported to a Tomb Raider electronic mailing list that Eidos had begun suing gamers using the Nude Raider patches. Eidos sent cease and desist letters to the owners of who were hosting the Nude Raider patch, enforcing their copyright of Tomb Raider. Sites depicting nude images of Lara Croft have been sent cease and desist notices and shut down, and Eidos Interactive was awarded the rights to the domain name As of December 2010, the nuderaider domain is registered to Netcorp of Glendale, California and points to a generic adult-themed search engine page.


The music for Tomb Raider was composed by Martin Iveson and Nathan McCree. The game uses a solo oboe melody for the main theme. Variations of this main theme have been used throughout all of the Tomb Raider games. The soundtrack of Anniversary was composed by Troels Brun Folmann, but loosely based on the original.

The symphonic sounds of the earlier games were created using Roland Corporation's Orchestral Expansion board for their JV series keyboards.

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Tomb Raider Games

Tomb Raider (1996) · Unfinished Business (1998) · Tomb Raider II (1997) · The Golden Mask (1999) · Tomb Raider III (1998) · The Lost Artifact (2000) · The Last Revelation (1999) · The Times (1999) · Chronicles (2000) · The Angel of Darkness (2003) · Legend (2006) · Anniversary (2007) · Underworld (2008) · Beneath the Ashes (2009) · Lara's Shadow (2009) · Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)

Tomb Raider Movies

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) · The Cradle Of Life (2003)