Tomb Raider

aka: TR1, Tomb Raider I, Tomb Raider en vedette Lara Croft, Tomb Raider featuring Lara Croft, Tomb Raider starring Lara Croft, Tomb Raiders
Moby ID: 348
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Lara Croft is a Tomb Raider, an archaeologist who explores ancient sites in search of valuable artifacts, who is hired to retrieve an artifact from a tomb in Peru, which turns out to be one of three parts of the Atlantean Scion. Soon betrayed by her employer, Lara Croft travels to Greece, Rome and Egypt to recover the other parts before this powerful device falls into the wrong hands.

Tomb Raider is a 3D action game with platforming and puzzle-solving elements, in which players control Lara Croft from a third-person perspective. The camera follows Lara as she climbs, jumps, and swims through detailed environs overcoming environmental obstacles and deadly fauna. Moving through levels often involves finding spots where Lara can climb, looking for spots where Lara can use her acrobatic ability, and sliding blocks and pushing levers to solve puzzles and open passageways.

Lara is armed with twin pistols with infinite ammunition, but she can pick up higher caliber weapons to take on deadlier human opponents. Lara also comes across restorative health packs and has a compass with which she can orient herself. Lara’s opponents include animals, gunmen, as well as primeval and supernatural beings. Careful explorers can also find secret areas and avoid traps.

Spellings

  • トゥームレイダース - Japanese spelling
  • 古墓丽影 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 古墓奇兵 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

67 People (43 developers, 24 thanks) · View all

Lead Programmer
Lead Graphic Artist
Programmers
Graphic Artists
Additional Programming
Additional Artwork
Music
Sound effects
Script
Original Concept
Executive Producer
Voice talents (FR)
Producer
QA
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 72 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 327 ratings with 14 reviews)

A 3D adventure unlike anything before it

The Good
Tomb Raider was a masterpiece when it first came out, and it is my first foray in the series. I believe that it was the first action-adventure game that delivered a third-person perspective. It is fully documented on MobyGames and received positive reviews. I thought that I'd play this game to see what all the fuss was about.

We are introduced to Lara Croft, a young archaeologist whose job is to collect artifacts from various sites around the world. No matter how hot or cold the place is, Lara can adjust to any temperature just fine. She is approached by an American, Larson Conway, who works for the wealthy businesswoman Jacqueline Natla. At Natla's request, Lara travels to Peru to obtain an ancient artifact, which happens to be one of three parts of the Atlantean Scion. Soon betrayed, she travels to three locations to search for the remaining pieces before it falls into the wrong hands.

The first thing that drew me in was the tutorial that takes place in Lara's mansion, mainly her gym where she is seen working out. It is where you need to practice a few moves which you need to accomplish in each of the game's fifteen levels. Some of the moves featured include jumping (both short and long), walking, swimming, and ledge-hanging. The skills are not quite as difficult to master, and as a player new to the Tomb Raider series, I managed to master them in under two minutes.

There are some stunning locations Lara has to visit, with my favorite being the ones surrounded by sand. To get through each location, not only do you have to perform the moves you studied in the tutorial, but you also have to deal with a lots of creatures in the game, ranging from wolves to demons. Lara can use up to four weapons at her disposal. What I found neat was the way Lara automatically turns her head and aims at a creature, meaning that you don't have to do it yourself.

There are a few bosses in the game, including the T-Rex that you meet halfway through the third level. Each boss is animated nicely, and look threatening enough that you want to put a bullet in them. They are also difficult to kill if you don't use the right weapon against them, and they can take away all your health in one go if you aren't careful enough. There are some people that you have to fight, with the most memorable one being Pierre DuPont, who wants to recover the pieces before Lara does.

I enjoyed exploring every nook and cranny, to see how far I can go without bumping into a locked door, and how many secrets I could find. When I reached the Atlantis level, I cannot believe how revolting it looked. The walls are basically pulsating hearts with a few body parts surrounding it, and to complement its appearance, you hear heartbeats as you make your way through the level.

There are a lot of puzzles in the game, mostly pushing/pulling blocks to specific areas. The puzzle that I remember most fondly is where Lara confronts her doppelgänger who mimics her every moves and she must lure it to its death. Most of the puzzles can take some time to finish depending on how well you get through them.

All the action occupies the entire screen. There is a health meter and ammo counter as well, but they are only displayed at the appropriate moments. The health meter is only shown if Lara has taken hits, while the ammo counter is only shown if you get one of your weapons out. I also like the way how the user interface looks. The options and your inventory is displayed in a ring, rather than horizontally one by one. Finally, I like how you can switch between high and low resolution. It is ideal for people who have problems using the high resolution side.

The sound effects are nice. You can hear creatures growling in the room next to you, allowing you to prepare for them early. Also, as expected, Lara can fall to her death from long heights, and when she hits the ground, she makes a nice "crunch" sound. Ambient sound effects are stored as CD Audio tracks, and this gives the game atmosphere as you wander around each location.

The replayability is high because the game can be completed again, to revisit areas and discover any secrets you missed the first time.

Highlight: Fighting the huge boss at the beginning of the last level, which was a major challenge for me two-fold. It takes a lot of damage to bring down, and I remember wasting a lot of my Uzi clips on him. Also, there is a gap in the platform, and you have to be careful not to fall down into the lava below.

The Bad
The only thing I have against the game would be that the game is too easy. There is more than five health packs (small and large ones) and ammo clips in the level. I ended up having 25 of them in total. Also, the cinematics in the game have scanlines, which means that they are not as detailed as the PlayStation version.

The Bottom Line
I like Tomb Raider a lot since it contains the one thing that I love - exploration. To help you get through the various locations in the game, you are taught a number of moves, and some of these are a matter of life or death as you spend some time jumping over hazards, such as lava or spikes. Two moves that I hadn't mentioned are the headstand and backward-swim. Since all of these make Lara so hot, it's no wonder that the "Nude Raider" patch was released.

There are creatures in the game, and these creatures, as well as bosses and humans, attack you if you are in the same room as them. Lara has an arsenal of weapons which she can use against them, and she can auto-aim herself so you don't have to. Overall, Tomb Raider has a slick user interface, great sound that provide atmosphere, stunning graphics, and high replayability. If you are looking for an excellent 3D action-adventure, then this title is for you.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2012

Great Game, Lots of action and adventure.

The Good
Addicted at first, too bad I started taking the game for granted. The 3D graphics are great and everything about this game was revolutionary at the time. Eerie areas.

The Bad
The makers should have spent more time designing the areas than on designing Lara (no comments). Also some of Lara's body parts have taken a liking to dissapearing into walls and blocks.

The Bottom Line
Great Game. 10/10

DOS · by Jim Fun (207) · 2002

Lara Croft, we hardly knew ye...

The Good
For a moment, forget everything you know about Tomb Raider.. the endless uninspired sequels, the shameless attempts to establish Lara Croft as a digital sex symbol, the constant stream of shoddy merchandising tie-ins.... At the very beginning, Tomb Raider was a groundbreaking game with an atmospheric, exciting adventure that launched the 3rd person action genre.

One of the things Tomb Raider is best known for are its graphics. They may look hideously primitive today, but in 1996, the blocky level architecture, low-resolution textures, and angular-bodied heroine were state-of-the-art. The PC version looked good out of the box, with a smooth-yet-blurry standard VGA mode and a 16-bit high-res mode that was much more detailed but ran poorly on all but the best systems. But, with a 3D accelerator card and a downloadable patch, the visuals would take on a whole new dimension, with 16-bit color, filtered textures, high screen resolution, and a buttery-smooth framerate. It really put the Playstation version in its place, and was one of the first real justifications for spending $300 on a 3dFX card.

As a feminist take on Indiana Jones, Lara Croft spends the entire game doing just what its name implies: raiding tombs. Imagine the first 15 minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark expanded to a 10-20 hour game, and you'll get the picture. Lara traipses around the world, visiting ancient underground caverns in the Andes, Egypt, and more. Thanks to a capable 3D engine, all of the locales are impressively expansive, and filled with signs of age, distress, and abandonment that give you a real sense of being the first human in centuries to explore them. Aided by an echoy, evocative ambient soundtrack and a lonely, strings-heavy theme song, this game effectively creates a feel of isolation. Save for a handful of human boss enemies, Lara is utterly alone, with only animals and genetically engineered monsters for company.

The gameplay itself is basically a 3D adaptation of the system seen in games like Prince of Persia and Flashback:The Quest for Identity, with plenty of running, jumping and dangling over large dropoffs. Lara has a wide variety of moves, and is quick and agile like an anime ninja. The frequent combat is enjoyable as well: Lara automatically locks on to her nearest enemy, and will keep firing at it until you release the trigger. This, combined with her ability to flip in 3 directions while firing and a somersault move that instantly makes her face the opposite direction, makes gunfights intuitive and free-flowing.

The Bad
The level architecture is based around cubes, and this impacts play control in a few negative ways. Most obviously, there is only one acceptable method of making a running leap from platform to platform. Lara needs to be roughly a "block" away from the edge, and the player must press the jump button shortly before she reaches it. Start too close or press the button too late, and she'll likely run right over the edge, often onto a bed of spikes or into a deadly freefall. This leads to many deaths, or at least a minute or two spent getting back into position for another try.

There are also numerous camera problems, which were typical in third-person 3D games during this time period. In particular, try backing Lara up against a wall, or trying to see around a corner in a narrow corridor. The game also uses a few too many key-fetch puzzles, which got a little tiresome by the end, even in 1996. Finally, the CGI cut scenes are truly terrible, with crappy video encoding and ugly character models. A particularly strong offender is the depiction of Lara herself. Along with sexiness, Lara Croft was supposed to bring "girl power" to video games, but it's hard to take her seriously when she has a wasp waist and her breasts look like they represent a full 60% of her body weight.

The Bottom Line
Sadly, the original Tomb Raider's dated graphics combined with the series' current-day status as the laughingstock of 32-bit franchises means that any gamer trying it for the first time today will likely be less than impressed. But trust me when I say that in 1996, it was something special.

DOS · by Ludicrous Gibs! (38) · 2005

[ View all 14 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Aged well Donatello (466) Jan 12, 2013
WTH... Tomb Raider Limited Edition? John Smith May 24, 2012
A rather glaring omission. GAMEBOY COLOR! (1990) Nov 9, 2011
Survival horror hribek (28) Mar 17, 2009
I need some help ! GAMEBOY COLOR! (1990) Nov 8, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Tomb Raider appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cutscenes

In addition to having the soundtrack (well, ambiance sounds are more like it) encoded as redbook audio, Core also recorded as cd tracks the dialogue and sound for all the in-game-engine cutscenes (not the rendered ones), meaning the cutscenes can be listened to on any CD player.

Lara Croft

The main character was originally going to be a man but during production they changed it to a woman, originally named Laura Cruz and later changed to Laura Croft. The design of the protagonist was partially based on Lead Designer Toby Gard's sister, Frances. He originally increased Croft's bust as a joke, but the rest of the team thought it was a good look for her, and it stuck. Gard was, understandably, mortified and allegedly he quit his job at Core Design in 1997 about it.

In succession of the game's release, Laura Croft became a media hype and widely known outside gaming circles. In addition to appearing in magazines, TV, etc... she was also featured in the music video Männer sind Schweine ("Men are pigs") from the German band Die Ärzte and in U2's "POP Mart" in several clips showing her on her bike, and shooting the audience. That's right, on the worlds largest screen.

Level Format

The Tomb Raider level data format has been reverse engineered and it's called TRosettaStone. Each level contains all the data besides the music, so there is level geometry, all models, all textures and sounds; some of the files are repeated several times trough levels.

The levels are composed of blocks. It enables game to have some Sokoban-like puzzles. Each such block can have several triggers in it. The game uses skeletal animation and waypoints for the AI.

Novels

In addition to numerous comics from Top Cow Productions, Lara Croft's cross-promotional adventures have included a trilogy of novels inspired by the games, published by Ballantine Books:

  1. The Amulet of Power (2004), by Mike Resnick;
  2. The Lost Cult (2004) by E. E. Knight; and
  3. The Man of Bronze (2005) by James Alan Gardner.

Nude

There was a rumoured cheat to turn Lara Croft nude. It said that if you tapped out the tune to the Spice Girls song Wannabe on the keyboard Lara would start dancing and then take her clothes off. This one is false. But soon after the release, someone found out how to replace the clothing textures and released a custom "nude patch" (DOS version only of course). It revealed everything and it became a big hype on the net. The patch is still floating around, just search for "nrpa103.zip". Custom nude patches were developed for later Tomb Raider games as well.

Sold-out version

The Sold-out version of this game is missing the audio tracks. There is however a "fix" for this by searching the web for stella's tomb raider site it has tons of info and patches on making this game work and including the missing audio.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • May 1999 (Issue #178) - Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • EGM
    • December 1996 (Issue 89) - Game of the Month (PlayStation version) (shared with Street Fighter Alpha 2)
    • March 1997 (Issue 92) - Game of the Year runner up (All Systems) + PlayStation Game of the Year runner-up + Saturn Game of the Year runner-up + Adventure Game of the Year runner-up (PlayStation / Saturn version) + Action Game of the Year runner-up (PlayStation / Saturn version)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #54 (Best 100 Games of All Time) (PSX version)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #3 (Readers' Top 10 Games of All Time) (PSX version)
    • February 2005 (Issue 200) - #35 in the "Greatest Games of Their Time" list
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #6 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
    • Issue 01/2007 - One of the "Ten Most Influential PC Games" (It marks the rising of Lara Croft as first game character which manages to be a long-running brand beyond the video-game industry, even more so than Nintendo's Mario. Lara Croft is also one of the first established female game protagonists in a male-driven industry.)
  • PC Gamer
    • August 2001 (Issue 100) - #86 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
    • April 2005 - #37 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #19 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue 37 - #22 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" poll
  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    • 2018 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame
  • Świat Gier Komputerowych
    • February 1997 (Issue #50) – Golden Disk'96 for the best foreign game of 1996


Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Daniel Fawkes, Big John WV, Evilhead, hribek, Indra was here, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Sciere, shifter and Zovni

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by robotriot.

PS Vita added by GTramp. SEGA Saturn added by Kartanym. PlayStation 3, PSP added by Foxhack. Windows Mobile added by Kabushi. N-Gage added by Jason Walker. PlayStation added by Grant McLellan. Windows added by eWarrior.

Additional contributors: Matthew Bailey, Terrence Bosky, Unicorn Lynx, Syed GJ, Jeanne, Eep², Shoddyan, Alaka, formercontrib, Michael B, ケヴィン, eWarrior, DreinIX, Paulus18950, MZ per X, Patrick Bregger, victorfreitas, Lain Crowley, Karsa Orlong, FatherJack, SoMuchChaotix.

Game added November 1, 1999. Last modified May 24, 2024.