Tomb Raider 1 Trivia

Overview

In Tomb Raider, the player controls the female archeologist Lara Croft, in search for the three mysterious Scion artifacts across the world. The game is presented in third person perspective. Lara is always visible and the camera follows the action from behind or over her shoulder. The world she inhabits is fully drawn in three dimensions and characterized by its cubic nature. Ledges, walls and ceilings sit at 90 degrees to each other (although the game designers used some clever tricks to make this less obvious).

The object of Tomb Raider is to guide Lara through a series of tombs and other locations in search of treasures and artifacts. On the way, she must kill dangerous animals and other creatures, while collecting objects and solving puzzles to gain access to an ultimate prize, usually a powerful artifact. Gunplay is restricted to the killing of various animals that appear throughout each stage, although occasionally Lara may be faced with a human opponent. Instead the emphasis lies on solving of puzzles and performing trick jumps to complete each level. As such, Tomb Raider in essence harkens back to the classical form of platform style gameplay.

Features

Movement in the game is varied and allows for complex interactions with the environment. Besides walking, running and jumping, Lara can perform side-steps, hang on ledges, roll over, dive and swim through water. While swimming, an extra statusbar appears under the health meter to indicate the amount of breath left in Lara's lungs. In a free environment, Lara has two basic stances: one with weapons drawn and one with her hands free. By default she carries two pistols with infinite ammo. Additional weapons include the shotgun, dual magnums and dual uzis. At a certain point in the story, Lara will be stripped of all her weapons, leaving the player defenseless and forced to recover her pistols. This development went on to become a staple of the series.

Numerous enemies as well as a variety of lethal traps can bring about Lara's death in Tomb Raider, the most immediate threat of which is falling to death. As the game adopts a platform style approach of progress, well timed jumps must often bring Lara safely to the other side of a ledge or she will plummet to the ground below. Although Lara may survive a drop from high peaks, she will easily break her neck if she performs the dive move even from relatively low heights. Also note that landing on spikes, even if they are jumped upon from ground level, are always fatal. The various animals that attack Lara, while dangerous in large numbers, are easily avoided and gunned down. Furthermore, they cannot climb on higher platforms and as such remain confined to the rooms they inhabit. Fire is a lethal substance in the game. Should Lara touch it, she will immediately catch fire and die within seconds unless the player manages to dive into a nearby pond. Other means by which the game will prematurely end include drowning, electrocution, being shot, being crushed, and turning to gold.

A general action button is used to perform a wide range of movements in Tomb Raider, such as picking up items, pulling switches, firing guns, pushing or pulling blocks and grabbing onto ledges. Regular items to pick up include ammo, and small and large medpacks. Game-specific items are keys and artifacts required to complete a stage. Any item that is collected is held onto in Lara's inventory until it is used.

The puzzles that the player encounters across each level vary: pulling specific combinations of levers, a course of timed jumps, avoiding a certain trap or collecting several keystones.

Throughout each stage, one or more secrets may be located. Discovering these secrets is optional, and when the player has found one a tune plays. The locations of these secrets vary in difficulty to reach. Some may be hidden along the roadside in bushes, others require the completion of a hidden course or optional puzzle to be found. The player is usually rewarded with extra med-packs, ammo and occasionally, new weapons.

In the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions of Tomb Raider, saving the game is restricted to fixed save points within each level, marked by a floating blue crystal. When Lara touches one of these the option to save is made available. The scarcity of these points, however, means that if the player dies, large portions of each level must be replayed, much to the players' frustration. Following criticism on this system, Core implemented a save anywhere at anytime feature in Tomb Raider II, which, in turn, lead to complaints that the game was made too easy. A compromise was reached with Tomb Raider III under the form of "collectible save crystals." The PC and Mac versions of the game allow the player to save at any time.

A stage is finished when a certain doorway is reached or an artifact recovered.

Development history

Preliminary work on Tomb Raider commenced in 1993, but it was not until November 1996 that the game actually saw the light of day as a retail product. The title was crafted by Core Design of Europe, who took 18 months to develop it. The team consisted of six people, among them Toby Gard, who is credited with the invention of Lara Croft. The character went through several changes before Core settled on the version she became famous for. In its earliest conception, Lara Croft was a male placeholder for an as yet undefined character, but as Core decided that puzzles and stealth should be more important to the game than action, they found that these requirements better suited a female character than a classic male action hero.

As such Lara was born under the name Laura Cruz. "Laura" was later dropped in favor of Lara, to appeal more to American audiences. At the same time, her backstory started to shape up and it was decided she should become more British, hence Cruz was changed to Croft to accommodate this. Personality-wise, Lara was a cold-blooded militaristic type in the early concepts. According to Toby Gard, the idea to make her a female Indiana Jones was not present from the beginning, but rather grew naturally out of the development process as the game took its final form.

Lara's famous breast size was in actuality brought about by accident. Toby Gard was fudging around with the model when he accidentally blew up Lara's bosom to 150% of what he intended it to be. As he was resizing it back to normal, the other designers saw what he was working on and told him they loved it and that he should keep the double size.

Interestingly enough, it is Core's contention that the company was struggling somewhat with 32-bit development at that time. It is also rumoured that Tomb Raider's publishing company Eidos was near bankruptcy when Tomb Raider was created. The first glints of the game were seen on Sega Saturn development kits. However, ultimately, it would be the PlayStation rendition that would be known best.

Reception and legacy

Upon its release, Tomb Raider was widely praised by gaming magazines for its revolutionary graphics, inventive gameplay and involving storyline. The level of sophistication Tomb Raider reached by combining state-of-the-art graphics, classical music and a cinematic approach to gameplay was at the time unprecedented. The resulting sales were consequential, Topping the British charts a record three times, and contributing much to the success of the PlayStation. As one of the top selling games of the system, it was one of the first to be released on PlayStation's Platinum series, and its success made Tomb Raider II one of the most anticipated games of 1997. Although the game spawned numerous sequels, most recently, Tomb Raider: Legend, often superior in scope and graphics, the original remains the most beloved among fans and critics.

Nevertheless, Tomb Raider received some criticism for minor camera and object glitches, as well as its difficult save system. Some fans complained at the lack of action in favor of puzzle solving, although ironically, Tomb Raider II would be criticized for its overabundance of violence, especially against human opponents.

The game's use of a hard edged, female heroine has been both hailed as revolutionary (breaking away from the male perspective of game playing) and derided as sexist for its stereotypical depiction of a woman designed to appeal to an audience of teenage boys. Nevertheless, Lara caused a sensation in the gaming world and catapulted her to cyber celebrity status. Aside from game appearances, Lara was featured on covers of magazines, in comic books and movies. The amount of media coverage Lara received was at the time unheard of, with many magazines even outside the video game industry printing articles on her. Several large corporations such as Timberland wanted to use her as their spokesperson.

Differences between versions

Tomb Raider was released for the PC and Macintosh and the PlayStation and Sega Saturn game consoles. Saving methods are different; on the PC and Macintosh versions one can save anywhere, while on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn versions the player is required to find Save Crystals to save. The graphics on the PC and Macintosh versions are of superior quality. The Saturn version offers slightly faster gameplay over the PlayStation version but sacrifices some graphical quality. The PC and Macintosh versions were also later reissued with added bonus levels. A '10th anniversary edition' remake of the game is planned for release this year on the PSP, PS2, and PC platforms. Core Design had originially been developing this remake, but their project was pronounced cancelled as of June 15th, 2006, despite being 80% completed. It was revealed the next day that Crystal Dynamics is now in charge of bringing the Tomb Raider remake to the PSP, Playstation 2, and PC platforms in 2006.

Nude Raider

A development in Lara's history is the so-called Nude Raider patch. A patch was created externally from Core and Eidos and was never housed on the Eidos or Core websites. This patch, when added to an existing Tomb Raider game, caused Lara to appear naked. Contrary to rumor, there is no method of creating a nude Lara in any console version of the game. In April 2004, it is falsely alleged that an insider from Eidos reported to a Tomb Raider electronic mailing list that Eidos had begun suing gamers using the Nude Raider patches. Eidos sent cease and desist letters to the owners of nuderaider.com who were hosting the Nude Raider patch, enforcing their intellectual property of Tomb Raider. Sites depicting nude images of Lara Croft have been sent cease and desist and shut down, and Eidos Interactive was awarded the rights to the domain name nuderaider.com.

Interesting Facts

  • In 1998, Tomb Raider won the Origins Award for Best Action Computer Game of 1997.
  • Tomb Raider pays homage to Indiana Jones in a number of ways, including references to traps from Raiders of the Lost Ark, such as the spiked pits, poison darts, boulders and the collapsing temples.
  • Lara's mansion was modeled after the front of the Derby Studios building where Core Design worked on the game.
  • By inserting the Tomb Raider disc into a regular CD player, audio and music from the game can be heard, among them an unused track of an early Eidos game called Firestorm.
  • The voice actress for Lara was Shelley Blond, who did not return for further installments of the series.
  • In "Tomb Raider" Lara doesn't have a braid/tail while in the later games she has, this was done because it would take up too much memory, making the game slow
  • In Canada's Family Channel show Life With Derek, this game is made fun of and put under the name Babe Raider.

Source: Wikipedia