Lara Croft is the iconic English female archaeologist character from the Square Enix franchise Tomb Raider, who first appeared in the 1996 video game of the same name. She‚Äôs known for being both smart and beautiful but also willing to wade through dangerous situations in order to explore ancient ruins and tombs in countries around the world. Toby Gard and Core Design are responsible for the initial creation of the character, who was reportedly inspired by singer Neneh Cherry and the comic book character Tank Girl. I have a really strong interest in ancient sites and the cultures that they represent, something that was only enhanced by the ability to play as a character who had the same interests as me when I was younger.
Lara Croft¬†was originally envisioned as a man, but due to the similarities between the character and Indiana Jones it was decided that she should be a female who could counter stereotypical female characters; i.e. the secondary character, sexualised, ‚Äòdamsel in distress‚Äô types. Her infamous breasts from the earlier games were actually a design fluke; Gard accidentally increased the size by 150% and it was decided by the rest of the production team that they should stay like that. Her original character wore a tight turquoise tank top with light brown shorts, knee-high white socks and boots, as well as a holster belt that held her two pistols. Later adaptations, particularly the 2013 reboot give Lara more clothing; usually a tank or crop top with camouflage or tan coloured combats and boots. The pistols are still there but the modern reboots have shifted the focus to a bow and arrow.
Her back story in the earlier games was that she was stranded in the Himalayan Mountains when she was 21, causing her to seek adventures in the world and shun her aristocratic life with her parents back in England. The subsequent film adaptations and later games show Lara with both her mother and father dead or missing, causing her to follow in their archaeological footsteps and seek new challenges, such as quests revolving around mysterious artefacts from ancient cultures such as Egypt and Atlantis. The 2013 reboot of¬†Tomb Raider, voiced by actress Camilla Luddington, was mainly focused on establishing the origins of the character again, choosing to combine all of the earlier information. In this series, she is a recent Archaeology graduate who is stranded on the island of Yamatai. She must save her friends and escape the island, all while being hunted down by an insane cult. The end of the game closes with her making the decision to temporality shun her former life, much like the 1996 edition and therefore uniting the origin stories from all of the previous games. The 2015 Rise of the Tomb Raider shows Lara continuing with this life.
The video game franchise led to the 2001 film release of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider which saw Angelina Jolie cast as Lara Croft. The film focused around a battle with the Illuminati, an ancient organisation who were determined to possess an artefact that would allow them to control time. The second film, the 2003 release Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life followed Lara discovering the tomb of Alexander the Great before she uncovers Pandora‚Äôs Box in a pool of black acid and saves it from a bio-terrorist. It was announced in April 2016 that there was going to be a third film, with award winning actress Alicia Vikander being cast as Lara.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Lara Croft character, so it is only fitting that the franchise continues with the popular reboot and ongoing movie franchise. She is my all-time favourite video game character, as she promotes strength and intelligence in women and I hope she inspires others as she does me.
Girl Museum Inc.