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"If there's one thing I've learned, it's that nothing is lost forever."
Lara Croft, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Tomb Raider is a media franchise (mostly video game based) starring an Adventurer Archaeologist named Lara Croft. In most of the games, she travels around the world looking for highly prized treasures while avoiding rival hunters, wildlife, and various death traps.

Since its debut in 1996, the video games have sold millions of copies around the world, and have spawned a series of comic books, a pair of movies, and an animated series.

The first six games were created by British developer Core Design, but when the series began to decline and an attempt to give it a Darker and Edgier makeover failed, the publisher handed it over to an American development studio, Crystal Dynamics (who were largely responsible for the Legacy of Kain series).

In 2009, Crystal Dynamics became a subsidiary of Square Enix (yes, that Square Enix).

The Core Design era

  • Tomb Raider (1996) - Lara Croft is hired by a wealthy businesswoman, Jacqueline Natla, to recover a piece of an artifact called the Scion, from the lost city of Vilcabamba. After Lara is inevitably betrayed by her employer, she races across the world to find the two other pieces of the Scion and prevent it from falling into Natla's hands. Along the way, Lara visits Peru, Greece, Egypt and a remnant of Atlantis.
    • The game got much critical acclaim (including a couple of "game of the year" awards), and established many of the tropes of the Action Adventure genre. As a result of the amount of genre conventions it established, it is frequently cited as one of the most influential games of all time.
  • Tomb Raider II (1997) - Lara is after the legendary Dagger of Xian, which is said to give its owner "the power of a dragon". She finds herself in conflict with Italian mob boss/cult leader Marco Bartoli, who is after the same item. Locations in the game include Venice, an offshore oil rig, the sunken ocean liner Maria Doria, Tibet and the Great Wall of China.
    • The game was generally considered as an Even Better Sequel, although many considered it to have too much combat.
      • Creator Toby Gard left Core Design during the development of this game, due to "Creative Differences" (he was unhappy with Lara's oversexualisation), and co-founded Confounding Factor. Their first game was Galleon, a Spiritual Successor to Tomb Raider that took about ten years to make. It was actually pretty damn good, but bombed on release. Confounding Factor closed down shortly afterward.
  • Tomb Raider III (1998) is actually five, loosely connected stories. Lara is gathering four crystal artifacts, with mystical (and insanity-inducing) powers. The first is found in India and then the player can then choose in which order to seek out the remaining three, visiting Area 51, London and an unspecified island in the South Pacific. Finally, she travels to the impact site in Antarctica, fighting through an excavation filled with creatures mutated by the meteorite.
    • Tomb Raider III was mostly well received, but is extremely merciless in difficulty and has a punishing save system on the Play Station version, but is also very ambitious in other areas; this resulted in it becoming a Love It or Hate It game with people generally either considering it one of the (or the) best games in the series or hating it. This was also the start of a general split in the overall reception of the series.
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999) - Lara unwittingly releases the Egyptian god Set from his sarcophagus and must travel across Egypt to gather the pieces of Horus's armor and re-seal him before he brings about the apocalypse. Lara's former mentor, Werner Von Croy resurfaces and becomes the host for the evil god.
    • While the first three games are relatively similar, The Last Revelation made various attempts to change things up, with many new items and puzzle ideas, along with the brave move of setting the whole game in one location. However, this was the point where the series began to lose its luster among reviewers, not helped by the fact the graphics engine was becoming dated at this point (despite minor improvements). While not to the degree of Tomb Raider III, this is also a Your Mileage May Vary game, with it either being considered the sequel most faithful to the original format and with many interesting advancements, or a game with a theme that starts to get repetitive and several unnecessary interface changes.
  • Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000) - After Lara's apparent death at the end of The Last Revelation, some of her friends gather and recall her past exploits, in the form of four mini-stories. The first is an old-school adventure, where Lara seeks the Philosopher's Stone in Rome. The second is a an action-horror themed one, where Lara infiltrates a submarine to recover the Spear of Destiny from a sunken ship, before the Russian Mafia gets to it. The third takes place in Lara's teenage years, where she is trapped with a ghost on an island in Ireland, without any weapons. The fourth story tells how Lara stole an artifact from her former mentor in a New York skyscraper.
    • The point of conversion to Franchise Zombie and Sequelitis; there were no plans for Chronicles at first, but it was made for a quick buck during the production of The Angel of Darkness. It shows; the level design is far less intricate, shorter and certain sequences clash with the series's own established canon, plus a couple of levels are incredibly easy to break and make Unwinnable (even compared to some of the buggier levels in the earlier games). While most weren't bad, its reviews were still mediocre compared to the earlier games. The release of the level editor with the PC version is quite possibly the most interesting thing about the game.
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)- The ill-fated attempt to revive the series by giving it a Darker and Edgier makeover. Lara is accused of the murder of her former mentor Werner Von Croy and sets out to clear her name. However, she ends up caught up in the plot of main villain Pieter van Eckhardt, the leader of the Cabal, who is plotting to revive the Cubiciulum Nephili, a powerful Nephilim, thus placing the word in great danger.

The Crystal Dynamics era Lara, for these games, is voiced by British actress Keeley Hawes. That Keeley Hawes.

  • Tomb Raider: Legend (2006) - A Continuity Reboot of the franchise, Legend delves into Lara's Backstory and motivations. She seeks the fragments of an ancient sword that is connected to a traumatic event from her own past. The main antagonist is Lara's college friend, Amanda Evert, who returns after being believed dead for years and wants the sword for her own reasons. The locations in the game include Bolivia, Peru, a Yakuza-infested skyscraper in Tokyo, Ghana, an old paranormal research facility in Kazakhstan, the ruins of cheesy King Arthur museum in Cornwall and Nepal.
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007) - A remake of the original game, made for the 10th anniversary of the series. It incorporates some of Legend's gameplay elements and changes the levels around, shortening some parts and extending others.
    • Anniversary pleased many irritated by the changes in Legend, with the level design more complex and the sidekicks gone. Its reviews were about the same as Legend (namely depending on whether the reviewer preferred the original style or the new Legend style). Some of the changes as a remake came under heavy scrutiny though, especially Atlantis and the T-Rex encounter, which were both generally regarded as being very lacking even by those with no particular memory of their original incarnation. Also a Surprisingly Improved Sequel to many let down by the changes in Legend.
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008) - Another attempt to be Darker and Edgier, this time succeeding. Lara is searching for Thor's hammer and the Norse underworld, believing it to have a relation to Avalon, where her mother is (apparently) trapped.
    • Underworld attempts a sort of combination of Legend and Anniversary, with the narrative integration of the former and the level design style, isolation and other aspects from the latter. Although its success is arguable. The game has received quite mixed reviews, partially due to being obviously rushed out for Christmas and let down by various bugs and issues (along with a camera from hell) for many people. Some overlooked those issues, or got lucky, and considered it one of the best in the series, others were completely put off by them or ended up with an overall impression more along the lines of So Okay It's Average. It seems the series is back in heavy Your Mileage May Vary territory (and, as a result, yet another Surprisingly Improved Sequel for many)...
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010) - A downloadable Gaiden Game with online co-op. The game is a third person 3D rendered isometric platformer/action title with puzzle elements. It is the only game in the series not to have Tomb Raider in the title. It also doesn't seem to have any place in either of the series' continuity (although it does use some of Legend's music), meaning players can interpret it how they wish.
  • Tomb Raider (scheduled for 2012 - delayed til 2013) - Yet another reboot of the series. It follows a young Lara, trapped on a Pacific island mostly alone and without any supplies and appears to be taking a hard turn to Darker and Edgier. The E3 trailer can be seen here. From screenshots shown, it looks like it's taking survival up a notch.

Films

Two live-action films based on the franchise have been made, starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. The films depart from the games in several plot departments, but Lara stays pretty much the same. The first film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, was released in 2001; Lara is off looking for the Triangle of Light, which the Illuminati seek in order to control time. The second film, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, has Lara in search of Pandora's Box.

Animation

Tropes used in Tomb Raider include:


  • Action Dress Rip: Happens in Legend.
  • Action Girl: Lara Croft, an absolute Badass.
  • Action Survivor: The younger Lara seen in the 2012 reboot seems to be this.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Usually with Spikes of Doom.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Which makes her kicking open old vases looking for treasure all the more cringing.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Lara.
  • Affably Evil: Dr. Willard.
  • Alternate Continuity: The Crystal Dynamics games are set in a completely different continuity to the Core Design games. Same for the movie and the comic book series. The upcoming game is set in yet another alternate continuity. Into exactly what continuities the assorted Gaiden Games fall is up for debate.
  • American Accents: In the original Tomb Raider, Natla has a Texan accent, Larson has a hillbilly accent, and The Kid's accent makes him sound like he is from New Jersey. In the Anniversary remake, Natla loses her accent and becomes more refined and almost mysterious. Larson's accent changes to Texan. For both of these characters, the changes are either due to a different vision from the developers or hiring new voice actors.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Several, and the answer is usually found at the bottom of a ruin.
  • Ancient Tradition: Also.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Used very often in Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld. All three games have at least one outfit that is a Shout-Out to a past game. Anniversary even has one where Lara is rendered in less polygons to reflect her model from the first game, pointy breasts and all, which made it very jarring and hilarious to see her interact with normal rendered characters in a cutscene.
  • Area 51: Lara ends up here in Tomb Raider III.
  • Artifact of Doom: Lots and LOTS of them.
  • Ascended Glitch: Lara's iconic mammaries came about due to a programmer accidentally slipping a decimal point and the team throwing 'em in.
  • Back From the Dead: Lara in The Angel of Darkness, although it's hardly a surprise seeing as she's the series' protagonist. A much bigger twist was the return of Natla in Underworld.
  • Badass Normal: Lara has encountered various supernatural beings, One-Winged Angel Superbeings and outright gods, and beaten (or re-sealed) them all.
  • Badass Preacher: Father Dunstan.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Lara seems to be quite fond of this.
    • Averted in the latest reboot.
  • Beard of Evil: Pierre Dupont, in both of his incarnations. His Crystal Dynamics incarnation has him with a Bald of Evil, as well.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: No matter how much damage she endures or what kind of dusty/slimy tombs she crawls through, Lara always comes out looking like she just got back from the stylist. The 2012 reboot looks to be averting this, at least if some of the promotional images are any indication.
    • Averted in Legend, Anniversary and Underworld. Sometimes it's difficult to notice unless the camera's zoomed in, but Lara gets a layer of dirt and grime on her whenever she shimmies around or climbs ledges. Her face even gets smudged.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: King Arthur was a real figure and the Excalibur was an ancient superweapon that granted him much power.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Poor, poor Winston.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lara and Kurtis, most obviously in their first scene together. Never has a disarming been so laced with sexual tension.
  • Big Bad: Natla in the first game (and Anniversary and Underworld), Bartoli in the second game, Dr. Willard in the third game, Set in the fourth game, Eckhardt in the sixth game (at least, that's what you're supposed to believe, until The Reveal that he is The Dragon for Karel, the real Big Bad), Amanda in Legend, Xolotl in Guardian of Light.
  • Big Bra to Fill: Angelina Jolie didn't quite live up to some fans expectations. It wasn't her acting that was the problem though...
  • Block Puzzle: Frequent in the first games, toned down later on.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Jacqueline Natla in the first game (and Anniversary and Underworld), Sophia Leigh in Tomb Raider III, Joachim Karel in The Angel of Darkness, and Amanda Evert in Legend and Underworld.
  • Body Horror: Used quite a bit, but Tomb Raider III especially loves this.
    • The Damned, a group of hooded, masked men who lurk underground, have, thanks to Sophia's experiments, been left with their flesh constantly rotting - and immortal, as they discovered when none of their suicide attempts worked.
    • The RX-Tech mine workers have mutated into hideous (and violent) creatures due to the energies from the meteorite. They are among the most unsettling enemies in the game. Then there's Dr. Willard's boss form...
    • The Angel of Darkness also features this in Boaz's case.
  • Bond One-Liner: Started in TR3, subverted in Underworld when a Mook knocks Lara out before she can finish delivering her quip.
  • Book Ends: Tomb Raider II. While the last level is set back at Lara's mansion, her quest for the Dagger of Xian begins and ends in China. Legend begins and ends in Bolivia.
    • Also, after finding out the true fate of Amelia and getting closure in Underworld, Lara and Amanda are sent back to the original gate Amelia disappeared through in the flashback during Legend.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Lara's weapons never have to be reloaded, ever. Her pistols have infinite ammo, too (all the other weapons have a limited amount).
    • After Crystal Dynamics took over the series, Lara's pistols have a limited magazine size but she can reload them as much as she wants.
  • Braids of Action: Lara, in the later installments and the movies. She was planned to have it from the get-go, but technical limitations prevented it from happening.
    • She does sport a braid in the first game's FMVs, but not during gameplay or non-FMV cutscenes.
  • British Accents: Lara has one because, well, she is British. Where she hails from exactly in the UK is apparently Surrey, but no Word of God has been verified.
  • Break the Cutie: Crystal Dynamics have stated their aim to do this to Lara in the 2012 reboot.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The ending of Tomb Raider II.
  • Broken Bird: Lara, by the time of The Angel of Darkness.
  • The Cameo: Kain and Raziel and Kane and Lynch appear as downloadable playable characters in Guardian of Light.
  • Camera Screw While this happens occasionally in the earlier games, Underworld takes it to another level.
  • Came Back Wrong: Lara's mom in Underworld.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: the Lost Valley in the original game was an iconic example of this being one of the first 3D examples of it. Legend attempts to outdo it by putting a whole open temple behind some falls.
    • Anniversary had a lot of things behind various waterfalls
      • In the "Lost Valley" level:
        • Shotgun behind the upper waterfall in the cave.
        • Exit from the level behind the lower waterfall in the cave.
      • In the "Natla's Mines" level the exit from the initial room is behind the waterfall.
      • In the "Final Conflict" level, for a change of pace, a relic is hidden behind a lava fall.
  • Cherry Tapping: Try killing the Abomination from the end of the first game with pistols (just be sure to nurse your aching fingers afterward).
  • City of Canals: The second game has a level in Venice.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Kristina Boaz in The Angel of Darkness.
  • Continuity Reboot: Everything after the series was handed over to Crystal Dynamics. The upcoming title is supposed to be yet another reboot.
  • Cult / Religion of Evil: The Fiama Nera cult from Tomb Raider II.
  • Cutscene: The first five games on PC and PS 1 mixed full motion video cutscenes (see the intro for an example) and in-game cutscenes using the gameplay engine. Originally, the in-game cinemas had no mouth movements, so it was rather awkward to see characters bob their heads (while their lips remained static) to indicate that they were talking. This was rectified starting with the fourth game.
    • Starting with the Crystal Dynamics developed games, the cutscenes were all presented using the gameplay engine, due to the advancements of graphics since 1996.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Lara gets knocked out or otherwise incapacitated in situations that would be no sweat during gameplay.
    • Such as when Lara's Doppelganger blows up Lara's mansion, kicks her ass inside her burning mansion, and kills Allister.
  • Darker and Edgier vs. Lighter and Softer: The original series generally veered towards Darker and Edgier as it went along, but The Angel of Darkness was the only major leap towards it. After the failure of that, Legend signaled a Lighter and Softer change arguably even over the earliest games. Underworld seems to be adding elements of Darker and Edgier again, making the series currently be in somewhat of a slalom.
    • The upcoming 2012 game is supposed to be even more Darker and Edgier than previous incarnations and an M rating.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lara Croft in spades, especially when it's combined with her Bond One-Liner. Alister and Zip also have their quips in Legend and Underworld.
    • In Tomb Raider III, after Lara winds up knocking herself out from a failed jump with her ATV, some mooks comment on how crazy she was to pull a stunt, then one of them wonders if Lara is an eco-terrorist. The other mook sarcastically replies "And they wear hot pants, huh?"
  • Death Course: What the series is all about.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Used in Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, where death just sends you back to the last checkpoint with full health.
  • Demonic Possession: Von Croy is influenced and sometimes directly possessed by Set for much of The Last Revelation.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Averted most of the time; while Lara faces gods she can rarely do direct damage and tends to just reseal them and other powerful beings she beats are just that and not outright gods. Partially played straight in Anniversary where while she doesn't kill Natla, she apparently at least incapacitates her for a while (the original game doesn't count as Natla was never said to be a god). Underworld she gets an artifact that does allow her to kill Natla) and Guardian of Light like Anniversary, Xolotl is not killed, but at least stunned enough by weaponry for him to be easily resealed, although Lara does have a god on her side too in this case
  • Dirty Communists: Subverted, if unintentionally. In Legend, Lara comes to the assistance of Russian-speaking Kazakh soldiers at a Soviet-era research facility that is being attacked by, of all things, American mercenaries hired by a West Point graduate attempting to steal a Soviet-owned relic. She saves them from a likely death, and with some reluctance, they supply her with the passcode for their command center.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Used often enough. In Legend, Lara must find the different pieces of Excalibur and reassamble them. In the first game, the Atlantean Scion is split into three parts. The second example is a variation of the trope, as the fragments were not necessarily all from the same version of Excalibur, as it is mentioned that there was more than one such sword.
  • Distant Prologue: Many of the games begin this way:
    • The original game begins in an unnamed time period but it's far in the past where an explosion in New Mexico takes place, as the next cutscene flashes forward to the present day, where we meet Lara for the first time. Anniversary uses the same type of intro, but with minor script changes and improved graphics.
    • Tomb Raider II also begins on an unknown date in the past, when the Chinese army was defeated by the Tibetan monks, who returned the Dagged of Xian to its place in the Great Wall of China. After the title screen, the game flashes forward to present day when Lara lands in the Great Wall of China area.
    • Tomb Raider III begins in prehistoric times when a comet wiped out the dinosaurs. After this, it flashes forward to present day when some Antarctic scientists discover said meteor.
    • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation features two levels at the beginning where you control teenage Lara, guided by her (then) mentor Von Croy. After these tutorial levels, the game switches to present day.
    • Legend begins when Lara was nine.
  • Doing in the Wizard: Legend strongly suggests that the fantastical elements of Arthurian myth were not supernatural, but the work of ancient astronauts.
    • The first game does the same for both Ancient Egyptian mythology and Atlantis.
  • Doppelganger: Used as part of a puzzle in one of the final levels of the first game and Anniversary, and an evil one blows up Lara's mansion in Underworld.
  • Downloadable Content: A considerable amount of downloadable material for Underworld was exclusive to the Xbox360, including two new levels and several outfits. PlayStation loyalists, some of them having supported the franchise from the very beginning, were not pleased.
  • Down the Drain: While Your Mileage May Vary, with a couple of exceptions it's notable for somewhat averting this, with several of the water-focused stages being considered among the highlights of the series for many.
  • Downer Ending: The Last Revelation. Of course, Lara gets better.
  • Durable Deathtrap: Used constantly, though subverted a few times in Legend.
  • Dynamic Loading
  • Egyptian Mythology: A huge part of the plot of The Last Revelation.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Apparently Underworld was an Evil Plan by Natla so Lara would lead her to the Lost Superweapon she could use to destroy the world.
  • Enemy Mine: At the end of Underworld, Lara and Amanda team up to stop Natla from destroying the world.
  • Enemy Chatter: In Legend. Very amusing to listen to.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Bats, bears, wolves, crocodiles, eels, tigers, monkeys, gorillas, sharks, ravens, random hobos and museum security guards. Lampshaded in Legend, when Mission Control wonders why predators always attack prey larger than themselves.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The first game, Tomb Raider II (but only in a secret area), Tomb Raider III, Anniversary.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Subverted to hell in the first game and Anniversary, played straight and then subverted in Tomb Raider III (the first monkeys Lara comes across are harmless, although they will try to steal pickups, but later ones are hostile).
  • Everything's Better with Motorcycles
  • Lava Adds Awesome: Loads and loads of lava to be found in the first and second games.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks
  • Everything's Worse with Bears
  • Everything's Worse with Wolves
  • Evil Albino: Amanda Evert. While she's not explicitly albino, her skin and hair become considerably lighter after she is possessed by the wraith.
  • Evil Counterpart: Amanda again.
  • Evil Old Folks: Pieter van Eckhardt.
  • Evil Redhead: Lara's evil clone.
  • Evil Twin: Lara's evil clone in Underworld.
  • Excuse Plot: The Gaiden Games, and, arguably, 80% of Tomb Raider III.
  • Exposed to the Elements: A green tank top and shorts for any weather, even while climbing the Himalayas. Lara's outfit changes to fit the location starting with the second game, but this doesn't always avert the trope, and from Legend on, the player can choose outfits (even if they're inappropriate) themselves.
  • Fan Girl: The series has gained plenty thanks to Kurtis, Larson and Karel.
  • Fan Service: Lara, of course, but Legend gives most of its male cast huge, muscular frames and half-unbuttoned shirts.
  • Femme Fatalons: ( Natla.)
  • Fingerless Gloves: Lara often wears these.
  • Five-Bad Band: There is one in The Angel of Darkness:
  • Foe Yay: Lara and Natla, Lara and Amanda.
  • Franchise Zombie:Chronicles was thrown together on publisher demand for a quick buck.
    • And then after that, there was The Angel of Darkness, which was almost a Franchise Killer.
  • Gaiden Game: Unfinished Business, Golden Mask, Lost Artifact, Times Exclusive, Beneath The Ashes, Lara's Shadow, Guardian of Light.
  • Gainaxing: Sometimes, Lara's boobs get all jiggly.
    • Specifically, it's entirely absent from the first five games (during gameplay, at least). Then she's quite bouncy in The Angel of Darkness, to the point where one wonders if she's even wearing a bra. The Crystal Dynamics games keep it in but dial it back to realistic levels.
  • Game Mod: The infamous (and self-explanatory) Nude Raider patches are some of the first examples of modding a non-FPS game. Also, beyond that, while it is not well-known publicly, the level editor released with Chronicles has led to very large modding community with thousands of custom levels and other content.
  • Giant Spiders: The large spiders encountered in the Temple of Xian in Tomb Raider II. Even bigger ones are encountered in Underworld. Dr. Willard's One-Winged Angel form also has elements of this.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Teenage Lara sports them.
  • Grave Robbing: Well the games are called Tomb Raider....
  • Guns Akimbo: Lara, of course.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits
  • Heel Face Turn: Werner von Croy, although it's mainly down to Demonic Possession.
  • Hand Cannon: The Desert Eagle in III and the revolver in The Last Revelation were one-shot kills for most of the baddies in the game
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sargent Aziz in The Last Revelation drives his truck filled with explosives into the dragon blocking that is blocking the Citadel, making it explode and killing the beast and himself in the process, which allows Lara to progress. Lara even gives Aziz a farewell salute after the deed is done.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In Underworld Natla returns from Anniversary and plays Amanda and Lara like fiddles, and Amanda's whole revenge scheme becomes an afterthought.
  • Hollywood Skydiving: Lara's base jump that opens the Kazhakstan level in Legend, which is an "interactive cutscene". If the player doesn't press the right button as it appears on the screen, Lara won't deploy her chute and will fall to her death.
  • Hot Mom: Lady Amelia Croft. Da-yum.
  • I Can't Use These Things Together: Lara's curt "No."
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Polynesian tribe in Tomb Raider III.
  • In the Hood: The Damned. They wear the hoods and masks to hide their Body Horror.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Guardian of Light has a a T-Rex that's on fire!
  • Indy Escape
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Those who have the courage to plunge the Dagger of Xian into their heart are rewarded with being able to transform into a dragon.
  • Invisible Grid: All of the first five games were divided up into grids that made jumps very simple to do and all puzzle blocks always moved by each "square" (for example, Wwlk to the edge, tap back once, and you got enough room to do a running jump).
  • Killer App: While it was initially developed for the Saturn, Tomb Raider and its early sequels became a killer app for the Play Station, the PC version was also one of the first games to get 3D card support.
  • Large Ham: Quite a few, but Verdilet, the demon from the Ireland levels of Chronicles, is particularly noteworthy.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Heard in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light when you lose a life.
  • Living Motion Detector: In the third game, the T-Rex can not see Lara if she doesn't move (a direct Shout-Out to Jurassic Park) - but it can harm her, as it will stomp around very close to her even if she stays completely still.
  • Locked Into Strangeness: In the Ireland levels of Chronicles, Father Dunstan's hair turns white and stays that way after an offscreen encounter with a demon.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Used in the first and third games; avoided in Legend, where Lara never loses any piece of the Artifact of Doom and ends up wielding it as an Eleventh-Hour Superpower.
  • Made of Iron: The upcoming Tomb Raider reboot will often have Lara wounded and she has to force herself to keep on going. However, even suffering from a wound that has her clutching her side doesn't stop her from clambering up on surfaces really quickly.
  • Male Gaze
    • Crystal Dynamics have stated they are specially trying to avert this in the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, to the point that they iterated on her model until people in tests were found to naturally focus on her eyes rather than her breasts.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Lampshaded and then justified in Legend.
  • Marathon Level: Each game has at least one level that's longer than the others. "Temple of Xian" from the second game, and three of the four England levels in the third game being some notorious examples.
  • Mayincatec: The City of Vilcabamba is based on the real-life last outpost of the Inca. It contains a gold idol modelled on a Tumi, a ceremonial knife used in sacrifices.
  • Metroidvania: Apparently, the 2012 reboot will allow free-roaming across the island, but certain areas will only be accessible once you have the right gear or skills.
  • Mind Over Matter: Kurtis Trent demonstrates telekinetic powers in The Angel of Darkness (which would have been a lot more apparent had Core been allowed to finish the game on time). Amanda's Black Magic ability is functionally similar.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Are those baboons in India? And lions in Egypt and China? They're extinct in both those places.
    • Well, now they are...
    • How about gorillas in Greece?
    • Let's not forget Crocodiles in Greece as well, or the fact that these animals have lived for centuries with no food in enclosed spaces.
    • But the Blue Ribbon goes to the Velociraptors and T-Rex that live in, of all places, the frozen peruvian mountains. And China. And Polynesia.
  • Mook Horror Show: Lara can polish off entire armies of trained mercenaries by herself.
  • More Dakka: As Lara's signature weapons are her dual Pistols the dual Uzis essentially function as this for her character (and were used almost as much as the pistols in earlier art for the series). Also, while other weapons had higher overall damage output the mix and agility and damage the Uzi's offered made them the overall best weapon of the first couple of games, although they were overshadowed by other weapons from Tomb Raider III onwards. Due to being a remake, Anniversary did give them some extra limelight again.
  • Multi Platform
  • Multiple Choice Past: Lara's origin seems to be "whatever the designer of the current game/movie feels like."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Anniversary, Lara has this reaction after killing Larson.
  • Never Found the Body: The ending of Chronicles; only her backpack is found in the rubble. Surprise: she's Not Quite Dead / Back From the Dead in The Angel of Darkness.
    • Also, Kurtis Trent at the end of The Angel of Darkness.
    • And Amanda in Legend; they only found an untied shoe in the ruins of Paraiso. She's still alive, of course.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Last Revelation, as Lara accidentally releases the Egyptian god Set from his sarcophagus near the beginning of the game.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first two games are fair outside of a few sections, but from Tomb Raider III onwards (until Legend) the series took no prisoners. Anniversary also has its moments, although their nature makes this a partial overlap with Game Breaking Bugs.
    • The trap-filled corridors in the Egyptian levels of Anniversary are probably the most extreme example in the later games. According to the commentary, the creators' decided that "traps" would be the theme of those levels, and basically stuffed the hallways with instant-death perils just to make them more interesting.
      • Even worse: The ascend in the Great Pyramid section of Atlantis. It's basically a series of incredibly difficult timed jumping puzzles, that get worse the higher you go. One mistake and Lara is toast. And you have to battle the enemies again, because the savegame-function works with checkpoints. There are a lot of players who got so frustrated that they downloaded a savegame from just after the ascend.
    • The first level in Tomb Raider II is notable for being incredibly difficult, especially if you're a beginner.
  • No-Gear Level: Almost every game does this where Lara gets captured and loses her guns. By The Angel of Darkness, she gained the ability to punch and kick.
    • On the other hand, a segment in Chronicles uses a younger Lara (introduced in the tutorial and prologue for The Last Revelation), who is always unarmed.
  • Non-Action Guy: Alister and Zip.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Each game features levels that aren't considered "tombs" by the strictest definition. Some games even predominantly feature non tomb-based levels (Tomb Raider Chronicles, with half the game taking place aboard a modern submarine and in a high rise skyscraper).
  • Noob Bridge: Sometimes happens. In the second major area in Tomb Raider: The Prophecy for Game Boy Advance, there's one place where you just have to use the run button; if you never learned of it you'd be stuck with a door that just closes too soon. In Tomb Raider II, there's an area where Lara must make a long jump into a pool of water far below. There is only a small square of space in the pool that isn't so shallow that it would lead to a lethal fall. However, even a perfectly executed running jump cannot reach it. This is the only point in the game where she absolutely must perform a dive while jumping in order to reach the small square of deep water.
  • No One Could Survive That: One cutscene has Lara diving from a height that kills her if the player attempts it when controlling her. Also, Natla falling into a pool of lava. And the ending of The Last Revelation, where the temple collapses and she is shown falling to apparently certain death.
    • Amanda's apparently certain death by drowning and crushing in the Legend flashback. But when Lara returned, she Never Found the Body, just an untied shoe. Guess what that means?
  • Nothing Is Scarier: This trope is invoked quite a lot as Lara is frequently exploring places no-one has entered in thousands of years.
  • Older Than They Look: Sophia Leigh, who, in the words of one of her henchmen looks to be in her "late twenties; early thirties", but is actually much, much older, as the same henchman says that his father and grandfather before him also worked for her. It is later revealed that Sophia is testing treatments for everlasting beauty and keeps the best results for herself. Given that the failed experiments of some of the treatments, the Damned, cannot die, it is also quite possible that Sophia herself is immortal. Indeed, she does come Back From the Dead in the Lost Artifact expansion.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Natla.
  • One-Hit Kill: Dr. Willard can fire homing energy projectiles that will instantly kill Lara if they touch her.
    • The unlockable Golden Shotgun in Tomb Raider Anniversary can kill nearly every enemy and boss character in one shot.
  • One-Winged Angel: Marco Bartoli in Tomb Raider II, Dr. Willard in Tomb Raider III.
  • Orphaned Series: The original Core Design continuity. Many a fanfic has attempted to continue the story.
  • Overly Long Scream: Unintentional version; if Lara falls more than a certain distance, her death scream starts playing, on the assumption that she'll die from impact damage when she lands. There are a handful of places in the early games where you can fall so far that the scream loops multiple times before she hits the ground (and at least one place where Soft Water will allow her to survive such a drop).
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The new Lara is noticeably paler than her original incarnation.
  • Parental Abandonment:
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Larson and Pierre in the Core Design continuity - most obviously in Chronicles. Also, Zip fills this role in both the Core and Crystal Dynamics continuities, although it's more downplayed in the latter.
  • Press X to Not Die: The "Quick-time events"/"interactive cutscenes" In the Crystal Dynamics games.
  • Product Placement: Starting with Legend, some name brand SUVs (Jeep) and motorcycles (Ducati) were prominently displayed, and even used by Lara. One line of dialogue has Lara talk about the performance capabilities of a Ducati bike just as she jumps on it.
  • Public Domain Artifact: Several, including Excalibur and the Spear of Destiny. The Ark of the Covenant makes a cameo appearance as well.
  • Puzzle Boss: Most of them.
  • Puzzle Pan
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Natla's henchmen in Tomb Raider and Anniversary.
  • Real After All: In the Tomb Raider III Gaiden Game Lost Artifact, Lara discovers a fake Loch Ness monster in a secret area, however, viewing a certain area at the right time allows Lara to look over the water and apparently see the real Loch Ness monster moving across the water.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Almost knee-length in IV, but gets shorter and shorter in every sequel.
  • Reconstruction: The 2012 reboot is going this way, judging by a Game Informer interview with its designers and Lara's more realistic redesign.
  • Recycled Title: Tomb Raider
  • Rival Turned Evil: Amanda, complete with white bleach blonde hair.
  • Rule of Cool: As explained in the first games manual, this is literally the reason for Lara's head first dive into a body of water.
  • Scaled Up: Marco Bartoli at the end of Tomb Raider II. The intro of the same game also shows the same happening to the then-Emperor of China.
  • Scenery Porn: Practically everywhere.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can
  • Selective Condemnation: Angel of Darkness
  • Shape Shifter: Karel - this is one of his Nephilim aspects.
  • She's Got Legs: At the end of Tomb Raider II, Lara is wearing a very short bathrobe.
    • Lara's costume fully reveals her legs in Legend, Anniversary and Underworld (thanks to incredibly short shorts).
  • Shower Scene: Subverted at the end of Tomb Raider II. Doubles as a That's All Folks.

  Lara: Don't you think you've seen enough? *shoots the player with a shotgun*

  • Sinister Subway: The derelict Aldwych station in Tomb Raider III.
  • Small Reference Pools: One of the Lara Croft CG renders is a nude Lara sitting in a chair with the chair back covering her front. How many nowadays know this is a parody of a Christine Keeler photo?
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom
  • Soft Water: in the third game, you are forced to dive off a cliffside. Lara's scream ends and starts again three times. Until you hit the water, just fine after falling roughly 100 ft.
    • The "Ghana" level in Legend opens with Lara swan-diving off a cliff into a lake about 100 feet below.
    • Basically, most of the time you jump from an incredible height but land in a body of water, you'll be alright (if it isn't too shallow, that is).
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's Lara, not Laura, Werner not Verner, Larson not Larsen, Sophia Leigh not Sophia Lee, Father Dunstan not Father Duncan, Alister not Alistair, Allister or Alasdair, and Amanda Evert, not Everett.
  • Spy Catsuit: Lara dons a short-sleeved variant in the London levels of Tomb Raider III, and a more traditional one in the VCI Headquarters levels of Chronicles.
  • Stalactite Spite: Seen in Tomb Raider II's "Catacombs of the Talion".
  • Stripperiffic: From the beginning, most of Lara's outfits showed just a little more skin than practical. In Legend, the developers abandoned all pretense and stuck her in a low-cut, ripped-up evening dress for a whole level.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: After the third installment.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Von Croy returns in Angel of Darkness, only to be brutally killed off in the game's intro.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Lara has an oxygen meter when you are underwater. If it runs out, you rapidly lose health until you die.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: In Tomb Raider Underworld depleting the oxygen meter takes longer than in the previous two games, in the instances where she's not using scuba gear.
  • Super Strength: Lara is able to push around blocks measuring 2 metres per side. That's about 20 metric tonnes.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Most noticeable with flares; there's rarely a reason to hoard them, since the games will usually give you more right before you enter a dark area.
  • Take That: See Shout-Out above.
  • Temple of Doom
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the first game, it is possible, upon completion of the game, to replay the game with every weapon unlocked - so it is possible to gleefully kill bats with uzis.
    • Made even more fun in the second and third games with the grenade launcher and the rocket launcher.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Lara does this in Anniversary. Repeatedly.
  • This Is Sparta: Lara has an admirable and frightening go at this where thanks to punctuating each word with a gunshot right by Amanda's face is even more powerful than Leonidas.

  "WHERE" bang "IS" bang "MY" bang "MOTHER" bang

  • Third Person Seductress: Arguably the Trope Maker, and while there have been examples before definitely the Trope Codifier.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Larson and Pierre.
  • Took a Level In Dumbass: Larson and Pierre go from mildly incompetent in the first game to extremely incompetent in Chronicles. This is played with, however, as this particular Chronicles segment chronologically takes place before the first game.
  • Took a Level In Jerkass: Lara in Angel of Darkness, justified given what she had to go through at the end of The Last Revelation.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Grenade Launcher (Tomb Raider 2 and 3), the Rocket Launcher, and the Desert Eagle (both in Tomb Raider 3) will hardly get any use by most players simply because ammo for these weapons is not common. Even players that go out of their way to find the game's secrets and find more ammo for these weapons will never use these guns except on the Final Boss.
    • Averted in Tomb Raider Chronicles. Each story chapter has their own set of levels and items don't carry over between stories, so you're free to waste as much supplies and ammo as you want as long as you can find them in the levels.
  • Training Dummy: In Legend, there is a dummy in the first Peru level which you can practice your hand-to-hand combat moves on.
  • Trophy Room
    • In III, you can unlock one that has all of the artifacts that Lara got in all the previous games and sidequests, plus a T. Rex skull.
  • The Unfought: Gunderson in Angel of Darkness.
  • Universal Ammunition: This is how ammo is handled in Guardian of Light, a blue bar that depletes faster depending on what guns you're using.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: In Legend, if you complete a combo of somersaults and flips (which serve little purpose in the gameplay), Zip or Alister will complement you over your headset.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: Nude Raider being a hidden function and not a mod.
  • Vertigo Effect: Seen in the first game's level 1 FMV, right before the wolves attack Lara's guide.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Not only are you perfectly able to kill the Tibetan warrior monks in the second game (who are perfectly tolerable towards Lara, unless she decides to shoot them), the friendly monkeys (first level only, after that they get nasty) and the now-helpful (after Lara agrees to help them) members of "the Damned" (London levels) in the third game, you are also able to kill security guards and prison guards in assorted games. Okay, so they are attacking you at the time, but, hey, they're just doing their jobs...
    • There are many, many videos on YouTube that show people diving Lara head first off a cliff onto solid ground. Heck, you can brutally be killed by almost anything in the series and people have happily done every single one of these things to Lara just to see what would happen.
    • You can also lock Lara's butler Winston in a freezer to keep him from following you. And on the assualt course, Lara actually uses him for target practise.
    • The trope is purposely invoked by one of the developers of Tomb Raider Anniversary in one of the commentaries. Another developer joked that the developer who was invoking the trope always killed Lara by impaling her on spikes and was upset that the ESRB wouldn't allow the game to have Lara be impaled by spikes anymore (this was supposed to let the game remain rated T, which is odd since the Playstation Tomb Raider games were also rated T and showed Lara getting impaled by spikes).
  • The Walls Are Closing In
    • In Legend, it is possible to push a crate ahead of you through such obstacles, so you are safely inbetween the two smashing walls that have been stopped by the crate.
  • We Can Rule Together: Natla's speech to Lara in Anniversary and Egyptian god Set's offer to Lara in exchange for the MacGuffin.
  • Wet Sari Scene: In Tomb Raider: Legend, Lara has a costume, "Classic, Gray," with a white shirt and plaid shorts. In the remastered version for the PlayStation 3, the shirt becomes see-through when wet. (She wears a bra, of course.)
  • Wham! Episode: The ending of The Last Revelation. Lara is apparently killed in a cave-in.
  • What Could Have Been: The Angel of Darkness was supposed to be the first game in a trilogy. Karel was supposed to survive and be in Turkey, trying to bring back his fellow Nephilim. Kurtis's fate apparently depended on how much the fans liked him (i.e. he would come back if he was really liked, or he would not if he was really disliked). Of course, since The Angel of Darkness failed miserably, the trilogy idea was scrapped and ideas attached to it along with it.
    • Also in the same game, the watch Lara can find in Francine's apartment was supposed to play a bigger role or at least have a sub plot of its own.
  • What Happened to Mommy: When Lara finally manages to find her mother at the end of Tomb Raider: Underworld she discovers she's already an undead Underworld zombie, and apparently has been so for the past twenty years or so. Sadly, it's not like a human being could survive in the hellish zombie-filled Underworld for 20 years anyway.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Angel of Darkness, Gunderson, the big brute, is sent to contain the situation involving the proto-Nephilim. He is never seen or mentioned again. This is quite jarring, because he was one of the members of Eckhardt's Cabal.
    • Jean-Yves, a close friend of Lara's, completely disappears between The Last Revelation and Chronicles. This was due to legal trouble between Eidos and an archaeologist of the same name, who complained that Jean-Yves resembled him in both profession and name. Because of this, the decision was made to remove Jean-Yves from Chronicles and replace him with a different friend of Lara's, Charles Kane.
  • White Male Lead: Inverted. Maybe one of the reasons the series gained so much popularity is because it portrayed an attractive white female as protagonist, which garnered a substantial female Periphery Demographic to the franchise.
    • Nearly played straight; originally, the series' protagonist was going to be a white male, but the development team dropped that for fear of being sued due to too many similarities with Indiana Jones.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: You're gonna NEED it when you play TRs 2-5. But the craziness is what makes the series so fun.
  • Womb Level: The last levels of the first game in Atlantis has walls of pulsating flesh and tissue mixed with tons of lava.
  • Xanatos Gambit /EvilPlan : Natla's scheme in Underworld.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: As mentioned above, Misplaced Wildlife and Everything Trying to Kill You abound in most of the games.
  • You Killed My Father: In Underworld, just before the final battle Natla reveals she killed Lara's father.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Natla. Oh my God, Natla (from the Crystal Dynamics continuity). Lampshaded in this fan-made video.

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