One of the most recognisable characters in video gaming history is Lara Croft; the strong adventurer and archaeologist. Back in 1996, the first video game Tomb Raider was released and since then the character has become well known with fans all over the world. According to Wikipedia, the Tomb Raider games have sold over 81 million video game copies worldwide.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the game franchise and, looking back, the franchise has achieved a lot over the years. The franchise has helped launch not just multiple successful games but films too. Formerly owned by Eidos Interactive, Square Enix have now been the publishers since 2010 and helped to launch the reboot of the series in 2013. Since the first game, over the years there have been a variety of games that have been released in the popular franchise, for various platforms such as Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation. 

The Tomb Raider video game series came into existence in 1996 with its first title Tomb Raider. The video game featured adventurer and archaeologist Lara Croft as she searches for an artefact called the Scion of Atlantis. Through her journey, Lara navigates multiple levels and solves puzzles as well as fights enemies. This game was so well received by consumers that a second game, Tomb Raider II, was released a year later in 1997. Since the success of the very first game, the Tomb Raider video games franchise has grown to hold nineteen titles over a variety of different platforms.

In this list of Tomb Raider games ranked from worst to best on GameRant, Tomb Raider (1996), Rise Of The Tomb Raider (2016), and Tomb Raider (2013), are the top three highest ranked according to Metacritic. While other games like Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness (2003) and Tomb Raider: Chronicles (2000) are some of the lowest ranked. The strong female character and action-packed adventure game has also inspired slot games over the years too. Tomb Raider and Lara Croft: Temples and Tombs are just a few online slot games inspired by the franchise that are available to play at William Hill right now.

The original game from 1996, Tomb Raider, is still considered to be one of the best. While other sequels, remakes, and reboots, have earned their fair praise over the years, sometimes nothing quite beats the original game that started it all. Since 1996, more sequels have been produced, including a reboot trilogy of Lara’s story produced in 2013. Tomb Raider (2013) reconstructed the origin story of Lara Croft and featured a female lead that was not the hard survivor and explorer that fans were familiar with. However, in video gaming history, the original 1996 game was the game that helped launch the female character into a video game icon. Although, compared to newer games, it has dated controls and graphics it’s still very much a fan favourite.

With the huge success of the video game franchise came the interest in making movie adaptations of the game. The character of Lara Croft was first introduced on cinema screens back in 2001 with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. Much like the video games, Lara was on yet another adventure to discover powerful ancient artefacts and keep them out of the hands of her enemies. This adaptation was a box office success, grossing over $275m and was the highest-grossing video game adaptation until it was beaten in 2010. Although the film generally received negative reviews from critics, it did receive a sequel Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle Of Life a few years later.

Of course, more often than not, movies don’t just stop at one game adaptation. After the reboot game trilogy from 2013 – 2018, the video game character headed yet again to the big screen, this time with a new female lead. Focusing on the events of the game reboot, Alicia Vikanda took on the role of Lara Croft in the 2018 film Tomb Raider. The film focuses on the events shown in the first reboot game where Lara becomes stranded on the island of Yamatai.

Although this film adaptation of the game also received a few mixed reviews, it made $274m at the box office and a sequel is also set to be released in the future. Alicia Vikander is set to reprise her role and recently there was also a new director announced for Tomb Raider 2. The director, Ben Wheatley, who was originally part of the sequel project, stepped down and Misha Green has been announced to direct the sequel. 

With more films and perhaps even more games planned out for the future, it looks like the success of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider is not slowing down anytime soon. What started out with one video game in the mid-90s has helped launch a successful franchise that has not only just been popular in the video gaming industry and the film industry, but overall has helped to launch an iconic female character.