From Lucozade sponsorships to Angelina Jolie movies, the legacy of the Tomb Raider franchise is something to behold. After bursting onto the scene in 1996, Lara Croft has been kicking ass and partaking in questionable archaeological practices for 25 years, which is longer than most video games series stick around for. To mark the occasion, we’re going to run through our Top 5 Tomb Raider games, which will no doubt annoy or elate you depending on your disposition.
5. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)
Of all the Tomb Raider spinoffs that have surfaced over the years, this one is by far the best. Launching on Xbox Live Arcade in 2010, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a top-down dungeon-crawler-come-puzzle-adventure, with superb destructible environments and challenging obstacles that you can play online with your friends. Crucially, it demands communication, which is the hallmark of any good co-op experience. Plus, the mythological set dressing is lovely to look at.
4. Tomb Raider II (1997)
A follow up that came merely a year after the iconic original, Tomb Raider 2 is remembered fondly by fans for its diverse environments, cool vehicles and exciting gameplay that pretty much finessed everything that the original did right. Who can forget exploring Croft Manor too, (and, of course, locking Winston in the freezer…)
3. Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)
Another sequel that built on the brilliance of its forebears, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a stunning Siberian adventure that absolutely everyone should play. With brilliant puzzle design, a rich, weather-worn world to get lost in and some cool combat and crafting mechanics, it’s a great testament to Crystal Dynamics’ vision for the future of Lara Croft’s journey.
2. Tomb Raider (2013)
Rise of the Tomb Raider may have developed many of its ideas, but Crystal Dynamics’ original Tomb Raider reboot would be the game I’d recommend to anyone looking to play a modern Lara Croft game without any of the old-school mechanical chaff. With strong characters, gritty combat and brutal set pieces, it’s a wonderful hybrid that honours the old-school games while adapting to the modern action-adventure landscape which, at the time, was dominated by games like Uncharted.
1. Tomb Raider (1996)
Of course the absolute classic had to come in first place. We wouldn’t have any game on this list without the original Tomb Raider; a groundbreaking 3D puzzle-platformer that shook the industry when it first landed in the mid-90s. Lara’s first outing gave us one of gaming’s greatest characters and hours of enduring fun fighting dinosaurs, bats and bears, all while solving fun puzzles and exploring moody environments. The best Tomb Rider game by far!
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