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 71 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 321 ratings with 14 reviews)

Breath taking

The Good
In my honest opinion this is perhaps THE best example of a 'proper' next generation game.

Before Tomb Raider there was nothing (to my knowlegde) that came before that had taken the adventure genre to an entirely new level. Upgrading from a Sega Megadrive, playing Tomb Raider back in 1996 was a giant leap in my gaming experience.

You'll never forget the first time the huge T-Rex comes stomping out of the shadows. One particular scene that always sticks with me is one level where you find yourself climbing what seems to be a huge cliff only for the camera to pan back to find ourself coming out of the enterence of a giant Sphinx! :O)

The music also is superb which adds to the tension and mystery of your surroundings.

The Bad
The sound effects where quite 'weak' on the Sega Saturn.

The Bottom Line
An amazing game from start to finish...although graphically it has aged quite alot.

SEGA Saturn · by Richard Daives (8) · 2005

Bad, simply bad

The Good
At first I really liked the game, mostly because it was pretty (for it's time), and it reminded me of Prince of Persia (one of my favourite games), only 3D. I'm not sure if I can say anything more positive about the game.

The Bad
It didn't take long before I saw the flaws, though it has the athletic features of Prince of Persia it's all about being pixel perfect. To do a perfect jump you have to jump at the exact correct time (which is just darn annoying), Prince of Persia didn't have this flaw since it was tile based, I'm not sure how Tomb Raider should have fixed the problem, but it's there and it ruins that element of the game darn quickly. There are puzzles in the game, but they're so brainless and simple that it's like the element don't even exist. The combat element is plainly boring, you just run and fire away, no skill or tactic involved. And the game is the same all the way through, if you've played one level you've played it all.

The Bottom Line
One particular thing I hate about Tomb Raider is that every game in the series is identical, the few difference is that there some new weapons, levels and enemies in the sequels. But that's it, this game is lacking in variety, and it's just absurd to see the sequels add nothing to the series. All in all though I had some fun out of the game, but I'd just recommend that anyone just download the demo and try that one out, you'll perhaps have fun for a short while and then you'll be bored. And the full game doesn't feature anything big that the demo don't have anyway.

The game concept is nice, but horribly executed. Thus this game and all in it's series are utter crap. You'd be better off playing Prince of Persia with it's fantastic jump'n'run gameplay, and with it's simple yet effective swordfighting.

DOS · by Kate Jones (416) · 2001

Say what you want of Lara, but this first game was an incredible experience.

The Good
You have to give it to the guys at Core, regardless of what happened AFTER this game got released, they managed to give us a fantastic action/adventure classic that followed in on the footsteps of Prince of Persia, but gave players chance to play in a fully 3d world. Amazing! From the first moments you ran around jumpin and performing acrobatic stunts while the camera followed you around tilting and panning as you moved you knew you were watching something special. And special it would be indeed! This game pretty much created 3D action-adventure as we know it, and that's no small feat indeed.

As mentioned above, the gameplay basics follow the lead of Prince's, with the addition of some more features to cope with the added 3rd dimension (such as the auto-aiming). You can roll, jump in all directions and control your jumps easily with pre-set jumping distances and a free-look camera mode (I never understood those that said it was hard judging jumps on Tomb Raider, heck they pretty much copied Prince's model to begin with!!). Graphically speaking the game is a beauty to behold, the engine (while prone to clipping problems) handles large massive areas with virtually no problem, as well as providing some nifty effects like when you are underwater. Granted, due to the technology they didn't have any colored lightning or stuff like that to play with, but the high-resolution mode is still fairly decent by today's standards. Another high point for the game was Lara's animations, which were truly a thing of beauty. Watching Lara perform sumersaults, swan dives, and even simple stuff like the handstand or the regular walk was a joy thanks to the fluid, life-like motions. I had literally seen no better character animation at the time and even today Lara still ranks high as one of the most life-like animated characters (heck, I even loved it when you fell down and broke all her limbs from the fall ;))

Add to that some stellar level design that gave us such wondruous experiences as the lost world level (that T-Rex, KICKED ASS!!) and you have in your hands the true heir to Prince's crown.

The Bad
Well, sound-wise the game was pretty weak. There wasn't any music save for some "ambience" sounds, and Lara's grunts and moans lost it's, uhm... "appeal" and turned annoying quite easily. The action itself in the game is good, but I really got tired of shooting wildlife creatures after the first few levels, luckily they throw some humans and those weird atlantean creatures your way later on, but until you get to them it's open season for wolf/bear/croc/etc.. hunting. Maybe it's me, but I never felt too heroic when taking out a a couple of bats with a shotgun.

Other than that, the only thing you can really pin against Tomb Raider is that for as many good things as it brought to the videogame world, equal amount of crap came with it. Namely the overdose of crate-puzzles, the over comercialization of game characters, etc, etc. But all these aren't faults of Tomb Raider's success, they are the faults of an industry that exploits it's own honest-to-good ideas with as much savagery as a pack of rabid hyenas.

The Bottom Line
Before the main concern for Core in terms of gameplay were the roundness of Lara's breast or her image as an "eXtReMe Girrrrrl", they gave us an honestly good game that managed to shatter all conceptions of what action/adventure should be. Tomb Raider didn't just introduce the 3d 3rd-person perspective viewpoint to the world, it also offered a magnificent gameplay experience that combined action, exploring, puzzle solving and acrobatic stunts. DO NOT be deceived by Lara's current state as a comercial cyber-whore, this first date with her was a roller coaster ride to remember.

DOS · by Zovni (10503) · 2002

[ 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 January 22, 2024.