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
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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 324 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 (43091) · 2012

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

Nicely atmosphere, nice graphics... and sense of adventure.

The Good
There's a lot to like about the game. The primary thing I value about the game is the realistic level design. The structures don't really seem that realistic if you start really thinking about them, but when looked at really close, they seem quite breathtaking. The places have very good atmosphere and graphical style, and while the levels generally seem to be pipe-running, at least the level structure is believable. The beginning of the game is a good example: Caves that gradually turn into an ancient city. Caves look like caves. Ancient city looks like an ancient city or something.

The music, or lack of it, is a good example of well-done ambience. Not really game music genre I really appreciate except in the game itself, but then again, so is ambient music in general. In general, the game has really nice atmosphere and pretty well-done pacing. And levels generally tend to be the right size or something.

The Bad
I think the PC version had this cool, very PC-like feature of me being able to save wherever the heck I wanted to. Not sure if this was true or not, but the fact is, the Playstation version has save points in middle of the level and between levels. One of the reasons I kind of dislike about consoles... grr. I hate, hate, hate save points.

The controls seem to be pretty good, quite intuitive, and not really often leave me in trouble, but often they're also not good enough. Not awful, but could be better. Sometimes, I completely manage to mess up a firefight. Tricky jump things are nearly damn impossible to get right without training, which kind of annoys without accurate saving... Also, in these days, I'm more used to "where you point, there you go" kind of control, using left and right to turn and forward and backward to move is so... 1996. Okay, maybe it works on d-pad while direct pointing is more for analog stick. Kind of works. Kind of.

And those wolves/dogs are so sad when they die. =(

The Bottom Line
Only a few days ago, I finally got myself an used PSone. The idea, of course, was that me, as a Nintendo fan boy, could finally buy the few good games that were ever published on PS without feeling incredibly silly about my supposed loyalties. I couldn't find Final Fantasy VII or Vib Ribbon to use the console Appropriately, so I had to pick up the only good PSone game the game store still seemed to have, shining from the middle of the sea of forgotten-on-the-shelf EA Sports garbage and games cruelly aimed to part small childrens' parents and their money...

I played halfway through the game around 1996 on PC, and pretty much forgot about it until now. Now it all seems to flood back to me. Was this game ever good! There's quite a bit of really good things in it. For some reason, Zelda: The Wind Waker reminds me a lot of Tomb Raider, don't know really why, there seems to be some similar architecture and, of course, block-pushing and vaulting.

And today...? Well, the graphics aren't really that great (but there's also this fact that while the PS version definitely looks worse than the PC version, at least it works today - I can't even begin to guess how to get a DOS game running right now, much less one that uses 3DFX Glide...), some physics stuff is absurd, some puzzles aggravating (especially with this thrice-loathed save point thing), but these days, the game is still pretty much playable and quite fun, still. Definitely worth the budget price tag it seems to carry these days.

Here's a game that definitely has the Sense of Adventure thing down. I'm not really certain on what to do with all of those sequels, but the first part of the series should definitely be part of a healthy breakfast for every serious gamer. Even if you're a thick-headed fan boy/purist/elitist like me who doesn't think anything Popular could possibly be Good. Well, this game was Popular, but it also was kind of Okay, so the Opinion should Officially be "Meh" - in other words, just go play it anyway. =)

PlayStation · by WWWWolf (444) · 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 March 17, 2024.