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The Best of Tomb Raider
It’s been nearly two decades since Lara Croft broke up the video games boys club with Tomb Raider and became an instant pop-culture icon. Since then, the fearless British archaeologist has conquered games, comics, movies (Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander will soon strap on the boots previously worn by Angelina Jolie) and even entered the Guinness World Records as "the most successful human videogame heroine."
Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration is out this week, which brings last year’s excellent Rise of the Tomb Raider to PlayStation 4 for the first time and includes all the game’s downloadable content, as well as several new modes and additional extras (the new content is also available as downloads on Xbox One and PC).
To commemorate the anniversary, EW asked developer Crystal Dynamics to do a little archaeology of its own and comb through Lara’s illustrious history to pick five of her most exciting, iconic and defining video game moments. These excerpts and many more are collected in the forthcoming book 20 Years of Tomb Raider: Digging up the Past, Defining the Future, which will be available October 25.
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Tomb Raider (1996): The Lost Valley’s T-Rex Reveal
“The original Tomb Raider captured the imagination of fans in a way few games can boast about. The Lost Valley and its stunning introduction of foes thought long extinct still tops many 'most memorable moments' lists to this day. As the Tyrannosaurus Rex entered The Lost Valley with thundering footsteps and a chilling roar, Lara suddenly seemed very small, and players realized that Tomb Raider offered them truly lost worlds.”
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Tomb Raider II (1997): Home Sweet Home
“After navigating through an otherworldly level full of floating islands and taking out a fire-breathing dragon, Lara returned home for some rest and relaxation. Sadly the calm didn’t last long, as Lara’s home was infiltrated by Fiamma Nera foes seeking vengeance for their fallen boss. Lara dispatched them with a shotgun as she defended her manor in a blue night robe. The game’s final level concluded with her aiming the shotgun at the camera and breaking the fourth wall by asking the viewer ‘Don’t you think you’ve seen enough?'"
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Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000): Lara Croft’s Memorial
"Looking for a TV-style cliffhanger for the end of The Last Revelation, the team at Core Design ended the game with a pyramid collapsing upon Lara Croft, seeming to bury her alive. Fans weren’t in on the plan to bring Lara back in a big way with Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, and many worried they saw the last of Lady Croft after the credits rolled. The team at Eidos kept her status a closely guarded secret, with Tomb Raider: Chronicles unfolding as a series of remembrances told at Croft’s memorial."
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Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008): The Destruction of Croft Manor
“A franchise staple since the very first game in 1996, Tomb Raider: Underworld’s campaign started off with a bang. The debut trailer featured Lara’s shadow — a doppelganger created by longtime foe Jacqueline Natla — infiltrating Croft Manor and detonating explosives, killing one of Lara’s closest friends and allies in the process. Fueled by a need for vengeance, Underworld Lara would stop for nothing — including the looming threat of Ragnarok — to find long-sought answers and even the scoreboard.”
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Tomb Raider (2013): Climbing the Radio Tower
"The 2013 reboot featured an untested, 21-year-old Lara Croft, one that expressed fear and at times doubted her abilities. As she explored the mystical island of Yamatai in search of her friends, she confronted these fears head on, aware that all of their lives were at stake. In a true test of courage, Lara climbed to the top of a vertigo-inducing radio tower to try and boost a distress signal and call for help. Encouraged by her Endurance crewmembers, the view of the island from the top of the tower was breathtaking, and marked a pivotal moment for Croft as a character. It was then she began to realize that she was capable of overcoming great adversity."