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Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is a media franchise consisting of action-adventure games, comic books, novels, theme park rides, and movies, centering around the adventures of the fictional British archaeologist Lara Croft. Since the release of the original Tomb Raider in 1996, the series developed into a lucrative franchise of related media, and Lara went on to become a major icon of the video game industry. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized Lara Croft as the "Most Successful Human Videogame Heroine" in 2006. Six games in the series were developed by Core Design, and the latest three by Crystal Dynamics. To date two movies, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, have been produced starring American actress Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft.

The central character in Tomb Raider is the British archaeologist Lara Croft, a female adventurer in search of ancient treasures. Lara was created by one-time Core designer Toby Gard, and grew out of a number of ideas discarded in early concepts. She appears almost invariably with brown shorts, a green or blue sleeveless top, holsters on both sides of her hip for dual wielded pistols and a small brown backpack. Over the course of the series, her 3D model has undergone gradual graphical improvements, as well as enlarged (and later reduced) breast size.

Over the course of time, the Tomb Raider series canon has undergone various changes or retcons. These changes correspond to the series entering a new medium, such as comic books or film, or being taken over by a new game developer. For example, in the first Tomb Raider game manual, Lara Croft is said to have survived a plane crash in the Himalayas at the age of twenty one, and was later disowned by her parents, who are still living. However in the comics, Lara lost both her parents and her fiancé in the crash. The films make no mention of a plane crash, Lara's mother died when she was too young to remember, and her father died under different circumstances. When development of Tomb Raider was transferred from Core Design to Crystal Dynamics, Lara's biography, only ever mentioned in instruction manuals, was contradicted by a new biography which supported an in game sub plot concerning the deaths of Lara's parents.

Several actresses and models have taken on the role of Lara Croft in real life for publicity purposes, including the British model Nell McAndrew, as an official model, and Rhona Mitra, in the early days of the games' success. In addition, playing Lara at game conventions is a popular type of modeling work. Alison Carroll is the current official portrayer of Lara. American actress Angelina Jolie was cast as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies.

Nearly fifteen years after the release of the original game, Lara is still one of the most durable and recognizable video game characters. Alternatively viewed as a feminist icon or sexual fantasy, the impact of her character on popular culture is undeniable.

In the multiplayer, players take the role as either Lara Croft or a 2,000 year old Mayan warrior named Totec. They must work together in order to stop the evil spirit Xolotl and retrieve the Mirror of Smoke. A single-player campaign mode is available that does not include the non-playable character AI following or helping Lara. Guardian of Light uses the same game engine as Tomb Raider: Underworld, and includes modern visuals and physics. The video game was shown at E3 2010 on 14 June and was released for the Xbox Live Arcade on 18 August 2010. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was very well received by critics. The Xbox 360 version of the game holds an average score of 85/100 and 86.36% on the game aggregate sites Metacritic and GameRankings, respectively. In a September 2010 IGN listed Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light fourteenth in their top twenty-five Xbox Live Arcade titles of all time. Critics felt that the game was an excellent fit for Lara Croft. Initial sales of the game have done well, with Guardian of Light selling 98,000 copies on Xbox Live in its first six weeks.


France, 2005, Lora Croft

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