For the Love Of: Tomb Raider

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chris-littlechild - August 8, 2016


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Now, we’re not averse to a little sextastic lady-flesh here at Egotastic!. That’s kind of our whole deal. We’re renegade badasses from the depths of the devil’s anus, we fear nothing and no-one, we only call our moms eight times a day, and we were wear our lust on our sleeves. Our love and admiration for the fairer sex is what binds us, like a proud and glorious ogling brotherhood. It’s why you’re here, too, unless you got yourself badly, badly lost on your way to the Barney the Dinosaur official fan page or something.  

If that’s the case, please accept our apologies and excuse all the boobs. If that’s not the case, and you are here for some lustable ladies, this one’s for you. It’s our ode to gaming’s most iconic woman, the face that launched a thousand desperate youthful internet searches for topless pictures back in the day, Lara Croft.

 It’s funny how many classic video game series are celebrating their 20th birthday this year, isn’t it? Yep, the original Tomb Raider first hit PlayStation and Sega Saturn way back in 1996. And what a time to be alive it was. Not only was smartass computer ‘Deep Blue’ whupping world chess champion Garry Kasparov, but we were getting real, strong female leads in our games. The future is now, the future was… twenty years ago. Or something.

Now, this wasn’t an entirely new idea. Metroid, you no doubt know, has itself the will-crush-your-gonads-into-spam-if-you-try-to-hit-on-her hardass Samus Aran in the lead role. Thing was, the fact that she was a woman had to be kept on the down low, a secret revealed only at the end of the first game. Tomb Raider gave no effs, and thrust this fact –along with its cover star’s pneumatic norks—right in our faces from the get-go.

True enough, her design was a little heavy on the chesticles, catering to the dude-dominated nature of video games at the time, but there’s more to this lady than ogle-candy. Which is lucky, really, as the piss-poor nature of early 3D made for huge, terrifying, triangular tits. Holy hell, she could’ve taken your eyes out with those polygons.

An Indiana Jones-y adventurer, and fancy-ass Brit aristocrat, Lara was getting her Uncharted on long before Nathan Drake hit the scene. In her first outing, Lara is travelling the world to piece together an ancient artefact dubbed the Scion, pursued by the agents of a corrupt tech company. We visit the lost city of Atlantis, take out bizarre mutant things from the past, and… yeah. This kind of batshit is just the Tomb Raider way.

 The emphasis in the games is always on athleticism, on jumps and climbing and such. They’re kinda sorta platformers at heart. What set the early Tomb Raiders apart at the time was the exploration factor, the huge freaking sprawling levels, and the many damn puzzles. If you haven’t spent any time with the series over the years, picture this: the what-the-shit-do-I-do-with-this-octagonal-crank obscure puzzles of Resident Evil, with a side of a Zelda dungeon’s switch-flickin,’ lever-pullin’ good times. That’s how it all goes down here.

All of that said, the series did a great job of melding genres. Despite how hopelessly lost my younger self would repeatedly get playing Tomb Raider 3 (yep, I’d use level select cheats just to see more of the game, because I sucked ass), it wasn’t only about solving riddles. There was a hefty amount of shooting action involved too. Over the course of the games, Lara has armed herself with everything from her iconic twin pistols to bazookas and grenade launchers. As the porn purveyors of the Internet will be first to tell you, Lara Croft has no problem handling huge weaponry.

 The success of the first game led to a need for a new installment every year, Call of Duty-style. The dev team at Core Design couldn’t handle the asses-on-fire-hurry pace this required, and they got burnt out a little. By the sixth release, 2003’s The Angel of Darkness, the cracks were starting to show, and the gamers and critics were starting to bitch. The following year, Crystal Dynamics became the core developers of the games, and things changed around here.

The more modern-day Tomb Raider has seen the whole ‘tomb raiding’ thing take a bit of a back seat. Which is a little ironic, you’ve probably noticed. The 2013 reboot, Tomb Raider, starred a younger, much more vulnerable Lara, right on the cusp of becoming the badass we know. With that, and last year’s sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, we’re talking more standard survival games. Y’know, resource gathering, shelter building, wanging wolves in the scrote with arrows so you’ve got something to eat that night, all that sort of thing.

Tomb Raider has lost its way a little over its two decades, but what twenty-year-old hasn’t? There’s a lot of history here, and a lead character who’s iconic for all the right reasons (and some of the boobie-based wrong ones). Girl power indeed. That’s something worth celebrating, right there.

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