Video Game: Tomb Raider Underworld

"I only want the truth, whatever it may be."

Lara: Jacqueline Natla, you just don't know when to die.
Natla: A trait we have in common.

Tomb Raider: Underworld was released in 2008 and is the ninth entry in the Tomb Raider series. It is the last game of the first Crystal Dynamics trilogy that started with Legend; after the release of Underworld, the series was rebooted a second time with Tomb Raider (2013).

Set a few weeks after the events of Legend, Lara Croft is now searching for Avalon, a mythical place where she believes she might find her missing mother. Thanks to a clue given to her by one of her late father's friends, she manages to pinpoint a location in the Mediterranean Sea, unwittingly stumbling upon the remains of some ancient Norse ruins and, more importantly, one of the gauntlets of Thor, the god of thunder. After an unlikely source informs her that Thor's hammer is the key to unlocking Helheim, the place where her mother was sent to, Lara descends into the underworlds of various ancient cultures. Determined to solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance once and for all, she sets out to collect Thor's gauntlets, belt and hammer, simultaneously making sure she stays one step ahead of her nemeses.

The locations she visits during the game include ruins beneath the Mediterranean Sea, Coastal Thailand, her own home, Croft Manor, the jungles of Southern Mexico, Jan Mayen Island, a ship in the Andaman Sea and finally, the Arctic Sea.

Underworld attempts a sort of combination of Legend and Anniversary, with the narrative integration of the former and the level design, isolation and other aspects from the latter. The storyline itself receives a bit of a helping of Darker and Edgier, though its success is arguable. Although its graphics are top-notch, the game has received quite mixed reviews, partially due to being obviously rushed out for Christmas. Many felt that the game was let down by of its various bugs and issues, its camera from hell being particularly noteworthy. 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. Two additional chapters were later released as Downloadable Content that was exclusive to the Xbox 360, which is still something of a sore point for the rest of the fandom.

It was released for PC/Mac, Playstation 2 and 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS and mobiles.

This page may contain unmarked spoilers.

This game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lara Croft. Obviously.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Makes an appearance in Mexico, where an entire room is centered around this kind of trap. They initially don't really offer much of a challenge, thanks to Lara's new sprinting ability . Once you grab the trinket you came for however, you'll realise the trip back is not quite as easy.
  • Back from the Dead: Jacqueline Natla. In fact, she's so good at this she even does it twice within the game. Lampshaded by Lara when they first meet again:
    Lara: " Jacqueline Natla, you just don't know when to die."
  • Bare Your Midriff: Lara's default outfit and its many variations. Actually, the wetsuits and really thick snow clothing are the only ones to avert this trope.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. It's not always that noticeable unless the camera is really zoomed in on her, but Lara gets some dirt on her whenever she rolls about too much. Alternatively, when she's climbing and shimmying around ledges. Even her face'll get a little smudged at times.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Poles randomly sticking out of walls - allowing Lara to swing her way across - is but one of the many examples.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Jacqueline Natla and Amanda Evert.
  • Blatant Item Placement: Weird medicinal mixtures and up-to-date sterilised medkits can be picked up at every corner.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Amanda Evert and Jacqueline Natla. The former less so than the latter though.
  • Bookends: After destroying the Midgard Serpent, a monstrous device that could have caused the end of the world, and taking out Natla with Mjolnir, Lara and Amanda escape through a nearby dais, which teleports them to the one in Nepal, where Lara's mother originally disappeared.
  • Braids of Action: The Doppelgänger.
  • British Accents: Lara, of course. Alister, Winston and the Doppelgänger as well.
  • Boss Battle: Somewhat notable in that it is the first game in the series to have no traditional boss battles.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played straight for the Dual Pistols; they have a limited magazine size, but can be reloaded as often as the player wants to. Averted for all other guns Lara has within her arsenal; once you've shot away all your ammunition, the gun is useless until the next level.
  • Bottomless Pits: Yes, Lara still dies when she falls down one of these. They tend to make at least one appearance in each level.
  • Bullet Time: One of Lara's moves utilises this; in a bit of combination from the previous Matrix-style moves, Lara will jump onto and then flip off an enemy. While in the air, time slows down and two reticules align themselves over the enemy's weak point, which Lara can shoot For Massive Damage. Additionally, during sudden dangerous moments, Lara will have a brief period of Bullet Time to react, replacing the Quick Time Events of the two previous games.
  • Came Back Wrong: Lara's mother. Being trapped in a thrall-filled underworld tends to do that to you.
  • Camera Screw: While the previous games occasionally suffered because of this, Underworld takes it to a new level.
  • Check Points: Frequently double as a Save Point as well.
  • Cool Bike: Lara has access to her bike in the Mexico and Jan Mayen Island levels. Sometimes it's even used as an instrument in solving a puzzle.
  • Crate Expectations: On both Amanda's ships.
  • Crouch and Prone: When Lara needs to squeeze through some small gaps.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Lara is held at gunpoint by a team of five mercenaries at one point, which would hardly pose a challenge in regular gameplay. However, since this is a cutscene, Lara surrenders and, although she tries to get a quip in, is then knocked unconscious.
  • Darker and Edgier: After the Lighter and Softer that was Legend, Underworld veers right back.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lara, of course. The Doppelgänger is identical enough to have this as well (though she only speaks in the Downloadable Content level).
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Death simply sends you back to the last checkpoint with full health and the medkits you've picked up.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Thanks to Thor's hammer, Lara is now perfectly capable of killing Natla, and does so at the end of the game, hurling the deadly weapon at the Atlantean Queen. And yet, she manages to survive even that, though it did look like it stung a little.
  • Downloadable Content: A considerable amount of extra content for Underworld was exclusive to the Xbox360, including two new levels and several additional outfits. PlayStation loyalists, especially those who had supported the franchise from the very beginning, were not pleased.
  • Drop the Hammer: Thor's hammer, though it is never actually used to physically hit someone with. Firing lightning bolts is much more fun.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: Once Lara gets her hands on Thor's hammer. The level that comes immediately after you obtain it is fairly short, being a kind of a repeat of an earlier level. Only this time around, Lara has the hammer and boy, is it fun to send thugs flying with that thing.
  • Enemy Mine: Lara teams up with Amanda after the latter was betrayed by Natla.
  • Evil Plan: Natla's scheme to unleash the Midgard Serpent, causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Evil Redhead: The Doppelgänger.
  • Evil Twin: The Doppelgänger, again.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Averted. Each level features a few possible outfits, all of which are suitable for said level's climate.
  • In Memoriam: The game is dedicated to Kyle Mannerberg, the lead Level Designer who passed away in production due to a brain hemorrhage. He is depicted as a portrait in Lara's yacht.
  • Final Boss: The Midgard Serpent, though that's more of a Reactor Boss than anything.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Part of Lara's standard ensemble. She wears regular gloves in the snow levels and none at all in the sea-based levels though.
  • Gainaxing: Subtle, but it's there.
  • In Medias Res: The game starts with a cutscene of Croft Manor blowing up, and the tutorial level involves Lara escaping the burning remnants of her home. At the end, she catches a glimpse of Winston and Zip trying to escape through the front door; Zip unexpectedly shoots at Lara. Right afterwards, the titles play and the action shifts back to 2 weeks prior in the Mediterranean Sea. Later in the game, the exact same scene and level are played, and this time the full incident is revealed: Amanda sent a new Lara doppelgänger to open the vault using explosives and retrieve the Wraith Stone.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Not counting the DLC extensions as canon, Lara hits Natla with Thor's Hammer, the most powerful weapon in the series capable of killing demigods, and she falls into the eitr, which instantly kills anything that lands in it (though it usually reanimates corpses as Thralls). Which is ironic considering how hard she is to kill, after what she survives in Anniversary.
  • Threatening Shark: Two different types of sharks bother Lara in the underwater levels of Underworld.