"If there's one thing I've learned, it's that nothing is lost forever."
— Lara Croft, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Tomb Raider is a media franchise (mostly video game based) starring an adventurer archaeologist named Lara Croft. In most of the games, she travels around the world looking for highly prized treasures while avoiding rival hunters, wildlife, and various death traps.Since its debut in 1996, the video games have sold millions of copies around the world, and have spawned a series of comic books, a pair of movies, and an animated series.The first six games were created by Core Design, but when the series began to decline and an attempt to give it a darker and edgier makeover failed, the publisher of the series, Eidos Interactive, handed it over to an American development studio, Crystal Dynamics (who were largely responsible for the Legacy of Kain series).In 2009, Crystal Dynamics became a subsidiary of Square Enix, a company famous for their various RPGs.The Core Design era
Tomb Raider (1996) - Lara Croft is hired by a wealthy businesswoman, Jacqueline Natla, to recover a piece of an artifact called the Scion, from the lost city of Vilcabamba. After Lara is inevitably betrayed by her employer, she races across the world to find the two other pieces of the Scion and prevent it from falling into Natla's hands. Along the way, Lara visits Peru, Greece, Egypt and a remnant of Atlantis.
The game got much critical acclaim (including a couple of "game of the year" awards), and established many of the tropes of the Action Adventure genre. As a result of the amount of genre conventions it established, it is frequently cited as one of the most influential games of all time.
Tomb Raider II (1997) - Lara is after the legendary Dagger of Xian, which is said to give its owner "the power of a dragon". She finds herself in conflict with Italian mob boss/cult leader Marco Bartoli, who is after the same item. Locations in the game include Venice, an offshore oil rig, the sunken ocean liner Maria Doria, Tibet and the Great Wall of China.
The game was generally considered as an Even Better Sequel, although many considered it to have too much combat.
Creator Toby Gard left Core Design during the development of this game, due to "Creative Differences" (he was unhappy with Lara's oversexualisation), and co-founded Confounding Factor. Their first game was Galleon, a Spiritual Successor to Tomb Raider that took about ten years to make. It was actually pretty damn good, but bombed on release. Confounding Factor closed down shortly afterward.
Tomb Raider III (1998) is actually five, loosely connected stories. Lara is gathering four crystal artifacts, with mystical (and insanity-inducing) powers. The first is found in India and then the player can then choose in which order to seek out the remaining three, visiting Area 51, London and an unspecified island in the South Pacific. Finally, she travels to the impact site in Antarctica, fighting through an excavation filled with creatures mutated by the meteorite.
Tomb Raider III was mostly well received, but is extremely merciless in difficulty and has a punishing save system on the PlayStation version, but is also very ambitious in other areas; this resulted in it becoming a Love It or Hate It game with fans generally either considering it one of the (or the) best games in the series or hating it. This was also the start of a general split in the overall reception of the series.
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999) - Lara unwittingly releases the Egyptian god Set from his sarcophagus and must travel across Egypt to gather the pieces of Horus's armor and re-seal him before he brings about the apocalypse. Lara's former mentor, Werner Von Croy resurfaces and becomes the host for the evil god.
While the first three games are relatively similar, The Last Revelation made various attempts to change things up, with many new items and puzzle ideas, along with the brave move of setting the whole game in one location. However, this was the point where the series began to lose its luster among reviewers, not helped by the fact the graphics engine was becoming dated at this point (despite minor improvements). While not to the degree of Tomb Raider III, this is either being considered the sequel most faithful to the original format and with many interesting advancements, or a game with a theme that starts to get repetitive and several unnecessary interface changes.
Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000) - After Lara's apparent death at the end of The Last Revelation, some of her friends gather and recall her past exploits, in the form of four mini-stories. The first is an old-school adventure, where Lara seeks the Philosopher's Stone in Rome. The second is a an action-horror themed one, where Lara infiltrates a submarine to recover the Spear of Destiny from a sunken ship, before the Russian mafia gets to it. The third takes place in Lara's teenage years, where she is trapped with a ghost on an island in Ireland, without any weapons. The fourth story tells how Lara stole an artifact from her former mentor in a New York skyscraper.
The point of conversion to Franchise Zombie and Sequelitis; there were no plans for Chronicles at first, but it was made for a quick buck during the production of The Angel of Darkness. It shows; the level design is far less intricate, shorter and certain sequences clash with the series's own established canon, plus a couple of levels are incredibly easy to break and make Unwinnable (even compared to some of the buggier levels in the earlier games). While most weren't bad, its reviews were still mediocre compared to the earlier games. The release of the level editor with the PC version is quite possibly the most interesting thing about the game.
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003) - Lara is accused of the murder of her former mentor Werner Von Croy and sets out to clear her name. However, she ends up caught up in the plot of main villain Pieter van Eckhardt, the leader of the Cabal, who is plotting to revive the Cubiciulum Nephili, a powerful Nephilim, thus placing the word in great danger.
The Crystal Dynamics era Lara, for all but one of these games, is voiced by British actress Keeley Hawes. ThatKeeley Hawes. In the 2013 reboot the voice and motion-capture actor is Camilla Luddington.
Tomb Raider: Legend (2006) - A Continuity Reboot of the franchise, Legend delves into Lara's Back Story and motivations. She seeks the fragments of an ancient sword that is connected to a traumatic event from her own past. The main antagonist is Lara's college friend, Amanda Evert, who returns after being believed dead for years and wants the sword for her own reasons. The locations in the game include Bolivia, Peru, a Yakuza-infested skyscraper in Tokyo, Ghana, an old paranormal research facility in Kazakhstan, the ruins of cheesy King Arthur museum in Cornwall and Nepal.
Also marks the point where Toby Gard came back into the picture after Confounding Factor shut down, though as a creative consultant this time.
Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007) - A remake of the original game, made for the 10th anniversary of the series. It incorporates some of Legend's gameplay elements and changes the levels around, shortening some parts and extending others.
Anniversary pleased many irritated by the changes in Legend, with the level design more complex and the sidekicks gone. Its reviews were about the same as Legend (namely depending on whether the reviewer preferred the original style or the new Legend style). Some of the changes as a remake came under heavy scrutiny though, especially Atlantis and the T-Rex encounter, which were both generally regarded as being very lacking even by those with no particular memory of their original incarnation.
Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008) - Another attempt to be Darker and Edgier. Lara is searching for Thor's hammer and the Norse underworld, believing it to have a relation to Avalon, where her mother is (apparently) trapped.
Underworld attempts a sort of combination of Legend and Anniversary, with the narrative integration of the former and the level design style, isolation and other aspects from the latter. The game has received quite mixed reviews, partially due to being obviously rushed out for Christmas and let down by various bugs and issues (along with a camera from hell) for many people. Some overlooked those issues, or got lucky, and considered it one of the best in the series, others were completely put off by them or ended up with an overall impression more along the lines of So Okay, It's Average.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010) - A downloadable Gaiden Game with online co-op. The game is a third person 3D rendered isometric platformer/action title with puzzle elements. It is the only game in the series not to have Tomb Raider in the title. It also doesn't seem to have any place in either of the series' continuity (although it does use some of the music from the three Crystal Dynamics games), meaning players can interpret it how they wish. It's currently available for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers.
Tomb Raider (2013) - Yet another reboot of the series. It follows a young Lara, trapped on a Pacific island mostly alone and without any supplies and took a very hard turn to darker and edgier with heightened realism and a big increase in blood and gore, as well as a more vulnerable Lara. As stated above, in this game, Camilla Luddington took over from Keeley Hawes.
Two live-action films based on the franchise have been made, starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. The films depart from the games in several plot departments, but Lara stays pretty much the same, except that in the second film she becomes more of a female James Bond (complete with an implied, probably self-assigned, licence to kill). The first film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, was released in 2001; Lara is off looking for the Triangle of Light, which the Illuminati seek in order to control time. The second film, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, has Lara in search of Pandora's Box.
Alternate Continuity: The Crystal Dynamics games are set in a completely different continuity to the Core Design games. Same for the movie and the comic book series. The Square Enix game is set in yet another alternate continuity. Into exactly what continuities the assorted Gaiden Games fall is up for debate.
American Accents: In the original Tomb Raider, Natla has a Texan accent, Larson has a hillbilly accent, and The Kid's accent makes him sound like he is from New Jersey. In the Anniversary remake, Natla loses her accent and becomes more refined and almost mysterious. Larson's accent changes to Texan. For both of these characters, the changes are either due to a different vision from the developers or hiring new voice actors.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Used very often in Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld. All three games have at least one outfit that is a Shout-Out to a past game. Anniversary even has one where Lara is rendered in less polygons to reflect her model from the first game, pointy breasts and all, which made it very jarring and hilarious to see her interact with normal rendered characters in a cutscene.
Anti-Hero: The very title of the game establishes that Lara is, effectively, a thief. And while she has good intentions, nonetheless her quests for finding treasure and artifacts usually result in many people (and a goodly number of animals) dying at her hand, and not always in a "must do it to save the world" context.
Ascended Glitch: Lara's iconic mammaries came about due to a programmer accidentally slipping a decimal point and the team throwing 'em in.
Asshole Victim: Sergei Mikhailov in Chronicles, Louis Bouchard and Grant Muller in Angel of Darkness.
Aww, Look! He Really Does Care About Her: After spending most of The Last Revelation as an antagonist due to a combination of anger at being Left for Dead, greed, and Demonic Possession, Von Croy has a change of heart after the possession wears off, desperately trying to save Lara from the collapsing Temple of Horus, and is genuinely mournful when he can't save her. In addition, during the present day in Chronicles, he spearheads an operation to try and rescue her.
Back from the Dead: Lara in The Angel of Darkness, although it's hardly a surprise seeing as she's the series' protagonist. A much bigger twist was the return of Natla in Underworld.
Bad Boss: Eckhardt. His reaction to Boaz' failure to destroy the Proto Nephilim is to have the poor woman fed to the Pod.
Bag of Spilling: A rather infamous one too. At the end of the level Nevada Desert in Tomb Raider III, Lara ends up getting captured by MP's. All her weapons get confiscated and depending on what order you play the levels, this includes several that you will never get back. Most guides highly recommend starting off with the Nevada levels for exactly this reason.
Beard of Evil: Pierre Dupont, in both of his incarnations. His Crystal Dynamics incarnation has him with a Bald of Evil, as well.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: No matter how much damage she endures or what kind of dusty/slimy tombs she crawls through, Lara always comes out looking like she just got back from the stylist. Justified in the games by Core Design, who did not have the technological means for any such effects.
Averted in Legend, Anniversary and Underworld. Sometimes it's difficult to notice unless the camera's zoomed in, but Lara gets a layer of dirt and grime on her whenever she shimmies around or climbs ledges. Her face even gets smudged.
Further averted in the 2013 reboot, where she gets impaled on spikes and other brutal injuries. And in general, doing a quick Google search will reveal that it's very hard to find any picture where she isn't dirty and beat up.
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: King Arthur was a real figure and the Excalibur was an ancient superweapon that granted him much power.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lara and Kurtis, most obviously in their first scene together. Never has a disarming been so laced with sexual tension.
Big Bad: Natla in the first game (and Anniversary and Underworld), Bartoli in the second game, Dr. Willard in the third game, Set in the fourth game, Eckhardt in the sixth game (at least, that's what you're supposed to believe, until The Reveal that he is The Dragon for Karel, the real Big Bad), Amanda in Legend, Xolotl in Guardian of Light.
Big Bra to Fill: Angelina Jolie didn't quite live up to some fans expectations. It wasn't her acting that was the problem though... Reportedly, Jolie was annoyed by this since she's already fairly big as it is and unlike in video games, she had to move/act/do stunts with them.
Big "NO!": Natla in TR 1, when Lara attempts to shoot the Scion.
Lara's reaction in Underworld when the Doppelganger shoots Alister.
Bilingual Bonus: Quite a few lines in Tomb Raider 2013 are spoken in Russian and Japanese.
Block Puzzle: Frequent in the first games, toned down later on.
Blondes are Evil: Jacqueline Natla in the first game (and Anniversary and Underworld), Sophia Leigh in Tomb Raider III, Joachim Karel in The Angel of Darkness, and Amanda Evert in Legend and Underworld.
Body Horror: Used quite a bit, but Tomb Raider III especially loves this.
The RX-Tech mine workers have mutated into hideous (and violent) creatures due to the energies from the meteorite. They are among the most unsettling enemies in the game. Then there's Dr. Willard's boss form...
The Angel of Darkness also features this in Boaz's case.
Boobs of Steel: Croft's signature trait, especially in the early games. More recent titles have made her more realistic, but she's still very well endowed.
Bond One-Liner: Started in TR3, subverted in Underworld when a Mook knocks Lara out before she can finish delivering her quip.
Bookends: This could be a bit of a stretch, but the first enemy you kill in Tomb Raider is a bat. The final enemy is Batla.
Tomb Raider II. While the last level is set back at Lara's mansion, her quest for the Dagger of Xian begins and ends in China. Legend begins and ends in Bolivia.
The Last Revelation opens with two flashback levels showing Von Croy trapped in a collapsing temple with Lara unable to save him. In the present day, the game ends with the roles reversed.
Also, after finding out the true fate of Amelia and getting closure in Underworld, Lara and Amanda are sent back to the original gate Amelia disappeared through in the flashback during Legend.
Bottomless Magazines: Lara's weapons never have to be reloaded, ever. Her pistols have infinite ammo, too (all the other weapons have a limited amount).
After Crystal Dynamics took over the series, Lara's pistols have a limited magazine size but she can reload them as much as she wants.
Broken Bird: Lara, by the time of The Angel of Darkness.
Butt Monkey: Larson has some elements of this in the first game (shot repeatedly and roundhouse kicked in the head), but this aspect is taken to the max in Chronicles - in which his partner-in-crime, Pierre, is also elevated to Butt Monkey status.
Cave Behind the Falls: the Lost Valley in the original game was an iconic example of this being one of the first 3D examples of it. Legend attempts to outdo it by putting a whole open temple behind some falls.
Anniversary had a lot of things behind various waterfalls
In the "Lost Valley" level:
Shotgun behind the upper waterfall in the cave.
Exit from the level behind the lower waterfall in the cave.
In the "Natla's Mines" level the exit from the initial room is behind the waterfall.
In the "Final Conflict" level, for a change of pace, a relic is hidden behind a lava fall.
Cherry Tapping: Try killing the Abomination from the end of the first game with pistols (just be sure to nurse your aching fingers afterward).
In Tomb Raider '13, Lara threshes her way through a cult called the Solarii.
Cutscene: The first five games on PC and PS1 mixed full motion video cutscenes (see the intro for an example) and in-game cutscenes using the gameplay engine. Originally, the in-game cinemas had no mouth movements, so it was rather awkward to see characters bob their heads (while their lips remained static) to indicate that they were talking. This was rectified starting with the fourth game.
Starting with the Crystal Dynamics developed games, the cutscenes were all presented using the gameplay engine, due to the advancements of graphics since 1996.
Cutscene Incompetence: Lara gets knocked out or otherwise incapacitated in situations that would be no sweat during gameplay, such as getting knocked out by a mechanic in TR II (to be fair, she was taken by surprise in that situation).
Deadpan Snarker: Lara in spades, especially when it's combined with her Bond One-Liner. Alister and Zip also have their quips in Legend and Underworld.
In Tomb Raider III, after Lara winds up knocking herself out from a failed jump with her ATV, some mooks comment on how crazy she was to pull a stunt, then one of them wonders if Lara is an eco-terrorist. The other mook sarcastically replies "And they wear hot pants, huh?"
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Used in Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, where death just sends you back to the last checkpoint with full health, making the games quite a bit easier.
Demonic Possession: Von Croy is influenced and sometimes directly possessed by Set for much of The Last Revelation.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Averted most of the time; while Lara faces gods she can rarely do direct damage and tends to just reseal them and other powerful beings she beats are just that and not outright gods. Partially played straight in Anniversary where while she doesn't kill Natla, she apparently at least incapacitates her for a while (the original game doesn't count as Natla, while a powerful being, was never said to be a god). Underworld she gets an artifact that does allow her to kill Natla) and Guardian of Light like Anniversary, Xolotl is not killed, but at least stunned enough by weaponry for him to be easily resealed, although Lara does have a god on her side too in this case
Dirty Communists: Subverted, if unintentionally. In Legend, Lara comes to the assistance of Russian-speaking Kazakh soldiers at a Soviet-era research facility that is being attacked by, of all things, American mercenaries hired by a West Point graduate attempting to steal a Soviet-owned relic. She saves them from a likely death, and with some reluctance, they supply her with the passcode for their command center.
Subverted also in Chronicles. Admiral Yarofev and his crew are painted in a much more sympathetic light than The Mafiya who have bought him and his submarine out. The bad Russians in this instance are the capitalists.
Dismantled Macguffin: Used often enough. In Legend, Lara must find the different pieces of Excalibur and reassamble them. In the first game, the Atlantean Scion is split into three parts. The second example is a variation of the trope, as the fragments were not necessarily all from the same version of Excalibur, as it is mentioned that there was more than one such sword.
The original game begins in an unnamed time period but it's far in the past where an explosion in New Mexico takes place, as the next cutscene flashes forward to the present day, where we meet Lara for the first time. Anniversary uses the same type of intro, but with minor script changes to reflect the change in continuity and improved graphics.
Tomb Raider II also begins on an unknown date centuries in the past, when the Chinese army was defeated by the Tibetan monks, who returned the Dagger of Xian to its place in the Great Wall of China. After the title screen, the game flashes forward to present day when Lara lands in the Great Wall of China area.
Tomb Raider III begins in prehistoric times when a comet wiped out the dinosaurs. After this, it flashes forward to present day when some Antarctic scientists discover said meteor.
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation features two levels at the beginning where you control teenage Lara, guided by her (then) mentor Von Croy. After these tutorial levels, the game switches to present day.
Legend begins when Lara was nine.
Distressed Dude: Jean-Yves in The Last Revelation; Father Dunstan in Chronicles.
Doing in the Wizard : Legend strongly suggests that the fantastical elements of Arthurian myth were not supernatural, but the work of ancient astronauts.
The first game does the same for both Ancient Egyptian mythology and Atlantis.
Doppelgänger: Used as part of a puzzle in one of the final levels of the first game and Anniversary, and a more advanced one blows up Lara's mansion in Underworld.
Downloadable Content: A considerable amount of DLC for Underworld was exclusive to the Xbox360, including two new levels and several outfits. PlayStation loyalists, especially those who had supported the franchise from the very beginning, were not pleased.
Down the Drain: While with a couple of exceptions it's notable for somewhat averting this, with several of the water-focused stages being considered among the highlights of the series for many.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Lara's recent iterations are quite a bit paler than her original incarnations. Lara's humanesque doppelgänger is a more extreme example of this, though her hair is more of a dark red.
Eldritch Location: The "Floating Islands" at the end of Tomb Raider II. Green chunks of rock bearing Chinese temple-like buildings guarded by flying statues drifting in the middle of an endless empty void? Yep.
Equipment-Based Progression: The games follow this trope, giving you more powerful weapons as you progress whilst all other skills remain static from the start.
Everything Trying to Kill You: Bats, bears, wolves, crocodiles, eels, tigers, monkeys, gorillas, sharks, ravens, random hobos and museum security guards. Lampshaded in Legend, when Mission Control wonders why predators always attack prey larger than themselves.
Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The first game, Tomb Raider II (but only in a secret area), Tomb Raider III, Anniversary. There's never any real explanation for why they're still around (though the radioactive meteor in Tomb Raider III may have "re-evolved" them in the same way it created mutants).
Everything's Better with Monkeys: Subverted to hell in the first game and Anniversary. Played straight and then subverted in Tomb Raider III (the first monkeys Lara comes across are harmless, although they will try to steal pickups, but later ones are hostile).
Exposed to the Elements: A green tank top and shorts for any weather, even while climbing the Himalayas. Lara's outfit changes to fit the location starting with the second game, but this doesn't always avert the trope, and from Legend on, the player can choose outfits (even if they're inappropriate) themselves.
Fangirl: The series has gained plenty thanks to Kurtis, Larson and Karel.
Follow the Leader: The 2013 reboot has been accused of copying Uncharted, mostly due to both 3D platformer/shooter with a central protagonist who is in way over her/his head and gorgeous Scenery Porn. The accusation is especially ironic as the original Uncharted was described as a Tomb Raider ripoff before its release.
Franchise Zombie:Chronicles was thrown together on publisher demand for a quick buck.
And then after that, there was The Angel of Darkness, which was almost a Franchise Killer.
Gaiden Game: Unfinished Business, Golden Mask, Lost Artifact, Times Exclusive, Beneath the Ashes, Lara's Shadow, and Guardian of Light.
Gainaxing: Sometimes, Lara's boobs get all jiggly.
Specifically, it's entirely absent from the first five games (during gameplay, at least). Then she's quite bouncy in The Angel of Darkness, to the point where one wonders if she's even wearing a bra. The Crystal Dynamics games keep it in but dial it back to realistic levels.
Game Mod: The infamous (and self-explanatory) Nude Raider patches are some of the first examples of modding a non-FPS game. Also, beyond that, while it is not well-known publicly, the level editor released with Chronicles has led to very large modding community with thousands of custom levels and other content.
Giant Spiders: The large spiders encountered in the Temple of Xian in Tomb Raider II (for no apparent reason, similar to the random pair of in the secret area. Even bigger ones are encountered in Underworld. Dr. Willard's One-Winged Angel form also has elements of this.
Heroic Sacrifice: Sergeant Aziz in The Last Revelation drives his truck filled with explosives into the dragon blocking that is blocking the Citadel, making it explode and killing the beast and himself in the process, which allows Lara to progress. Lara even gives Aziz a farewell salute after the deed is done.
Admiral Yarofev in Chronicles insists on staying behind on his doomed submarine in order to activate an escape pod for Lara. His only request is that she tell the world that his crew died bravely whilst doing their duty.
A couple of these occur in the 2013 reboot. First, Grim tackles a mook off of a platform, killing them both in order to prevent himself from being used as leverage against Lara. Later on, Roth (whom Lara looks up to as a surrogate father) takes a hatchet to the back in order to protect Lara from it, then kills the mooks around them before dying from his injuries. Then there's Alex, who also lays down his life on Lara's behalf...in fact most of the male cast dies in Lara's name.
Hijacked by Ganon: In Underworld Natla returns from Anniversary and plays Amanda and Lara like fiddles, and Amanda's whole revenge scheme becomes an afterthought.
Hollywood Skydiving: Lara's base jump that opens the Kazhakstan level in Legend, which is an interactive cutscene. If the player doesn't press the right button as it appears on the screen, Lara won't deploy her chute and will fall to her death.
Hope Spot: Towards the end of The Last Revelation, Lara attempts to summon Horus to help her defeat Set. Just as the summoning is almost complete, Set's swarm of locusts burst in and destroy Horus' statue and armour, thus stopping the summoning. Then Set himself appears...
Invisible Grid: All of the first five games were divided up into grids that made jumps very simple to do and all puzzle blocks always moved by each "square" (for example, Walk to the edge, tap back once, and you got enough room to do a running jump).
Killer App: While it was initially developed for the Saturn, Tomb Raider and its early sequels became a killer app for the PlayStation. The PC version was also one of the first games to get 3D card support.
Living Motion Detector: In the third game, the T-Rex can not see Lara if she doesn't move (a direct Shout-Out to Jurassic Park) - but it can harm her, as it will stomp around very close to her even if she stays completely still.
in the original Tomb Raider, as well as Anniversary, Lara encounters a doppleganger of herself, which mimics her in every way, to the point at which if you shoot at it you will take harm. You kill it by luring it into a Bottomless Pit.
Lost World: The Lost Valley of Peru in the first game, beneath the Great Wall of China in the second (though it consists only of two tyrannosaurs), and a particularly large one on a South Pacific island in the third.
Made of Iron: The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot will often have Lara wounded and she has to force herself to keep on going. However, even suffering from a wound that has her clutching her side doesn't stop her from clambering up on surfaces really quickly. Her Regenerating Health also ensures that she rebounds effortlessly from grievous injuries by design.
Crystal Dynamics have stated they are specially trying to avert this in the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, to the point that they iterated on her model until people in tests were found to naturally focus on her eyes rather than her breasts.
Marathon Level: Each game has at least one level that's longer than the others. "Atlantis" from the first game, "Temple of Xian" from the second game (which is also filled with numerous nasty death traps), and three of the four England levels in the third game being some examples.
Maniac Monkeys: In the third game, the initial monkeys are friendly but annoying but later ones are vicious.
Mayincatec: The City of Vilcabamba is based on the real-life last outpost of the Inca. It contains a gold idol modelled on a Tumi, a ceremonial knife used in sacrifices.
Metroidvania: Apparently, the 2013 reboot will allow free-roaming across the island, but certain areas will only be accessible once you have the right gear or skills.
Let's not forget crocodiles in Greece as well, or the fact that these animals have lived for centuries with no food in enclosed spaces.
But the Blue Ribbon goes to the Velociraptors and T-Rex that live in, of all places, the frozen Peruvian mountains. And China. And Polynesia.
A bonus level in "The Golden Mask" (an expansion pack for Tomb Raider II) sees you fight a T-Rex and a large bird monster... in a Las Vegas hotel. Justified in that it's supposed to be Lara's nightmare.
Mook Horror Show: Lara can polish off entire armies of trained mercenaries by herself.
More Dakka: As Lara's signature weapons are her dual pistols the dual uzis essentially function as this for her character (and were used almost as much as the pistols in earlier art for the series). Also, while other weapons had higher overall damage output the mix and agility and damage the Uzi's offered made them the overall best weapon of the first couple of games, although they were overshadowed by other weapons from Tomb Raider III onwards. Due to being a remake, Anniversary did give them some extra limelight again.
Also, Kurtis Trent at the end of The Angel of Darkness.
And Amanda in Legend; they only found an untied shoe in the ruins of Paraiso. She's still alive, of course.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Last Revelation, as Lara accidentally releases the Egyptian god Set from his sarcophagus near the beginning of the game.
Nintendo Hard: The first two games are fair outside of a few sections, but from Tomb Raider III onwards (until Legend) the series took no prisoners. Anniversary also has its moments, although their nature makes this a partial overlap with Game Breaking Bugs.
The trap-filled corridors in the Egyptian levels of Anniversary are probably the most extreme example in the later games. According to the commentary, the creators' decided that "traps" would be the theme of those levels, and basically stuffed the hallways with instant-death perils just to make them more interesting. The timing can be tricky to get right.
The ascend in the Great Pyramid section of Atlantis. It's basically a series of timed jumping puzzles, that get worse the higher you go. The jumps themselves are not always that difficult to make, but in between levels, there are enemies that can blow you off your platform, forcing you to redo entire sections. This can be incredibly frustrating, and make it appear harder than it is.
The first level in Tomb Raider II is notable for being incredibly difficult for an opening level, especially if you're new to the series.
No-Gear Level: Almost every game does this where Lara gets captured and loses her guns. By The Angel of Darkness, she gained the ability to punch and kick.
On the other hand, a segment in Chronicles uses a younger Lara (introduced in the tutorial and prologue for The Last Revelation), who is always unarmed.
Nonindicative Name: Each game features levels that aren't considered "tombs" by the strictest definition. Some games even predominantly feature non tomb-based levels (Tomb Raider Chronicles, with half the game taking place aboard a modern submarine and in a high rise skyscraper).
Noob Bridge: Sometimes happens. In the second major area in Tomb Raider: The Prophecy for Game Boy Advance, there's one place where you just have to use the run button; if you never learned of it you'd be stuck with a door that just closes too soon. In Tomb Raider II, there's an area where Lara must make a long jump into a pool of water far below. There is only a small square of space in the pool that isn't so shallow that it would lead to a lethal fall. However, even a perfectly executed running jump cannot reach it. This is the only point in the game where she absolutely must perform a dive while jumping in order to reach the small square of deep water.
In the original PS1 games, holding X while jumping causes Lara to grab onto the edge of a block if she can't quite make it across. This is incredibly useful, so it's common for new players to get into the habit of always doing so. What isn't immediately obvious (and not mentioned in manual or tutorial) is that this also reduces the jump range slightly. In at least one place (in III), a jump is set up so that you will end up bouncing off the cliff face inf you hold X, and land safely on the target if you don't.
Von Croy's is trapped in a collapsing temple in The Last Revelation flashback, with his leg trapped. He manages to survive, albeit with a disability for the rest of his life.
Amanda's apparently certain death by drowning and crushing in the Legend flashback. But when Lara returned, she Never Found the Body, just an untied shoe. Guess what that means?
Nothing Is Scarier: This trope is invoked quite a lot as Lara is frequently exploring places no-one has entered in thousands of years.
Older than They Look: Sophia Leigh, who, in the words of one of her henchmen looks to be in her "late twenties; early thirties", but is actually much, much older, as the same henchman says that his father and grandfather before him also worked for her. It is later revealed that Sophia is testing treatments for everlasting beauty and keeps the best results for herself. Given that the failed experiments of some of the treatments, the Damned, cannot die, it is also quite possible that Sophia herself is immortal. Indeed, she does come Back from the Dead in the Lost Artifact expansion.
Natla is the head of a technology corporation and, at most, looks to be in her mid-thirties. She's actually one of the last rulers of Atlantis, a civilization that pre-dates Ancient Egypt, Greece and Peru.
One-Hit Kill: Dr. Willard can fire homing energy projectiles that will instantly kill Lara if they touch her.
The unlockable Golden Shotgun in Tomb Raider Anniversary can kill nearly every enemy and boss character in one shot.
One Steve Limit: Averted within the Core series: TR I and Chronicles feature Pierre DuPont; Angel of Darkness features a minor character named Pierre.
One-Winged Angel: Marco Bartoli in Tomb Raider II, Dr. Willard in Tomb Raider III.
Orphaned Series: The original Core Design continuity. Many a fanfic has attempted to continue the story.
Overly-Long Scream: Unintentional version; if Lara falls more than a certain distance, her death scream starts playing, on the assumption that she'll die from impact damage when she lands. There are a handful of places in the early games where you can fall so far that the scream loops multiple times before she hits the ground (and at least one place where Soft Water will allow her to survive such a drop).
In the Crystal Dynamics games: Lara's mom was accidentally killed by Amanda, and her dad was killed by Natla.
Plucky Comic Relief: Larson and Pierre in the Core Design continuity - most obviously in Chronicles. Also, both versions of Zip fill this role in both the Core and Crystal Dynamics continuities, although it's more downplayed in the latter.
Press X to Not Die: The "Quick-time events"/"interactive cutscenes" In the Crystal Dynamics games.
Product Placement: In Legend, some name brand SUVs (Jeep) and motorcycles (Ducati) were prominently displayed, and even used by Lara. One line of dialogue has Lara talk about the performance capabilities of a Ducati bike just as she jumps on it.
Public Domain Artifact: Several, including Excalibur and the Spear of Destiny. The Ark of the Covenant makes a cameo appearance as well.
Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Lara has an admirable and frightening go at this where thanks to punctuating each word with a gunshot right by Amanda's face is even more powerful than Leonidas.
Rapunzel Hair: Almost knee-length in IV, but gets shorter and shorter from then on.
Real After All: In the Tomb Raider IIIGaiden GameLost Artifact, Lara discovers a fake Loch Ness monster in a secret area, however, viewing a certain area at the right time allows Lara to look over the water and apparently see the real Loch Ness monster moving across the water.
Real Is Brown: Of what we've seen so far, the 2013 reboot's colors can be quite dull at times, especially in darker areas.
Regenerating Health: Tomb Raider '13 is the first game in the series to use this game mechanic and abandon Heal Thyself. A strange choice considering the game's overt focus on Lara learning self-sufficiency.
Soft Water: in the third game, you are forced to dive off a cliffside. Lara's scream ends and starts again three times. Until you hit the water, just fine after falling roughly 100 ft.
The "Ghana" level in Legend opens with Lara swan-diving off a cliff into a lake about 100 feet below.
Basically, most of the time you jump from an incredible height but land in a body of water, you'll be alright (if it isn't too shallow, that is).
Spell My Name with an S: It's Lara, not Laura, Werner not Verner, Larson not Larsen, Sophia Leigh not Sophia Lee, Father Dunstan not Father Duncan, Alister not Alistair, Allister or Alasdair, and Amanda Evert, not Everett.
Spy Catsuit: Lara dons a short-sleeved variant in the London levels of Tomb Raider III, and a more traditional one in the VCI Headquarters levels of Chronicles.
Stripperiffic: From the beginning, most of Lara's outfits showed just a little more skin than practical. In Legend, the developers abandoned all pretense and stuck her in a low-cut, ripped-up evening dress for a whole level.
Super Drowning Skills: Lara has an oxygen meter when you are underwater. If it runs out, you rapidly lose health until you die.
Super Not-Drowning Skills: In Tomb Raider: Underworld, the oxygen meter takes much longer to deplete, making its underwater sections very easy compared to previous games. Most levels have her wearing proper diving gear though, which instead grants her infinite breath.
Super Strength: Lara is able to push around blocks measuring 2 metres per side. That's about 20 metric tonnes.
Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Most noticeable with flares; there's rarely a reason to hoard them, since the games will usually give you more right before you enter a dark area.
Took a Level in Dumbass: Larson and Pierre go from mildly incompetent in the first game to extremely incompetent in Chronicles. This is played with, however, as this particular Chronicles segment chronologically takes place before the first game.
Too Awesome to Use: The Grenade Launcher (Tomb Raider II and III), the Rocket Launcher, and the Desert Eagle (both in Tomb Raider III) will hardly get any use by most players simply because ammo for these weapons is not common. Even players that go out of their way to find the game's secrets and find more ammo for these weapons will never use these guns except on the Final Boss.
Averted in Chronicles. Each story chapter has their own set of levels and items don't carry over between stories, so you're free to waste as much supplies and ammo as you want as long as you can find them in the levels.
Training Dummy: In Legend, there is a dummy in the first Peru level which you can practice your hand-to-hand combat moves on.
In III, you can unlock one that has all of the artifacts that Lara got in all the previous games and sidequests, plus a T. Rex skull and the golden idol from the first [[Indiana Jones]] film.
Tyrannosaurus rex: In all three of the original games. Two in the second game. Anniversary gives it a boss encounter, making it far more difficult to kill than the original. As a bonus, Lara's trophy room in Tomb Raider III has a T. rex head mounted on the wall!
Universal Ammunition: This is how ammo is handled in Guardian of Light with a blue bar that depletes faster depending on what guns you're using.
Unkempt Beauty: Lara in the 2013 reboot, from all the footage revealed so far; even with—or maybe because of—those layers of grime, blood, and God knows what else, she looks stunning. Might be because of the determinator vibe coming off of her rather than her superficial appearance, though.
Unnecessary Combat Roll: In Legend, if you complete a combo of somersaults and flips (which serve little purpose in the gameplay), Zip or Alister will complement you over your headset.
Vertigo Effect: Seen in the first game's level 1 FMV, right before the wolves attack Lara's guide.
Videogame Cruelty Potential: Not only are you perfectly able to kill the Tibetan warrior monks in the second game (who are perfectly tolerable towards Lara, unless she decides to shoot them), the friendly monkeys (first level only, after that they get nasty) and the now-helpful (after Lara agrees to help them) members of "the Damned" (London levels) in the third game, you are also able to kill security guards and prison guards in assorted games. Okay, so they are attacking you at the time, but, hey, they're just doing their jobs...
There are many, many videos on YouTube that show people diving Lara head first off a cliff onto solid ground. Heck, you can brutally be killed by almost anything in the series and people have happily done every single one of these things to Lara just to see what would happen.
You can also lock Lara's butler Winston in a freezer to keep him from following you in II. And on the assault course, Lara actually uses him for target practise.
The trope is purposely invoked by one of the developers of Anniversary in one of the commentaries. Another developer joked that the developer who was invoking the trope always killed Lara by impaling her on spikes and was upset that the ESRB wouldn't allow the game to have Lara be impaled by spikes anymore (this was supposed to let the game remain rated T, which is odd since the PlayStation Tomb Raider games were also rated T and showed Lara getting impaled by spikes).
In Legend, it is possible to push a crate ahead of you through such obstacles, so you are safely inbetween the two smashing walls that have been stopped by the crate.
We Can Rule Together: Egyptian god Set's offer to Lara in exchange for the MacGuffin in The Last Revelation; Karel's speech to Lara at the end of The Angel of Darkness; Natla's speech to Lara in Anniversary.
Wet Sari Scene: In Legend, Lara has a costume, "Classic, Gray," with a white shirt and plaid shorts. In the remastered version for the PS3, the shirt becomes see-through when wet (she wears a bra, of course).
Wham Episode: The ending of The Last Revelation. Lara is apparently killed in a cave-in.
What Happened To Mommy: When Lara finally manages to find her mother at the end of Underworld she discovers she's already an undead Underworld zombie, and apparently has been so for the past twenty years or so. Sadly, it's not like a human being could survive in the hellish zombie-filled Underworld for 20 years anyway.
What Happened to the Mouse?: In The Angel of Darkness, Gunderson, the big brute, is sent to contain the situation involving the proto-Nephilim. He is never seen or mentioned again. This is quite jarring, because he was one of the members of Eckhardt's Cabal.
Jean-Yves, a close friend of Lara's, completely disappears between The Last Revelation and Chronicles. This was due to legal trouble between Eidos and an archaeologist of the same name, who complained that Jean-Yves resembled him in both profession and name. Because of this, the decision was made to remove Jean-Yves from Chronicles and replace him with a different friend of Lara's, Charles Kane.
What the Hell, Hero?: In Underworld Zip is angered at Lara's desire to continue her search for Thor's Hammer after Alister is murdered.
White Male Lead: Inverted. Maybe one of the reasons the series gained so much popularity is because it portrayed an attractive white female as protagonist, which garnered a substantial female Periphery Demographic to the franchise.
Nearly played straight; originally, the series' protagonist was going to be a white male, but the development team dropped that for fear of being sued due to too many similarities with Indiana Jones.
Originally this trope was to be averted completely with Lara being Laura Cruz, a South American explorer, but she was changed to be British to make her "UK friendly".
Tomb Raider 1 has one level section that can be summed up as a "underground skateboarding park", which suits the boss fight against The Kid, a punk who rides on a skateboard as he shoots at you. The developers in the Anniversary remake noted that the level design for that fight was so ridiculous and funny, which led them to remove that section in the remake and move The Kid's encounter later on without his skateboard.