After watching the trailer of the newest Tomb Raider game, I shouted: THAT'S NOT WHAT THE GAME IS ABOUT! As soon as the word "survivor" was on the screen. It's clear to me that Crystal Dynamics rendition of Lara Croft is the furthest thing from a tomb raider. Lady Croft, the British single woman in her late thirties who comes from an aristocratic family and has deep interest in archaeology, was suddenly turned into a survivor. And with that, the cycle of killing her off and reviving her and killing her off again continues.
Lara Croft first appeared in the original Tomb Raider game which was released on Sega's Saturn and Sony's PlayStation 1. The game was about a character who goes on adventures around the world looking for artifcats. After years of releasing Tomb Raider games, the publishing company wasn't happy with the how the recent Tomb Raider games turned out so it handed the project to a new team. And this is exactly when things started going wrong.
Crystal Dynamics' Lara Croft is tainting the character's history. The team has failed to come up with a character that matches the older games' in terms of personality. Here's why:
The lack of Identity
In the Tomb Raider games that are made by Crystal Dynamics, Lara's personality is similarly sketched to characters from games in the same genre. If a Tomb Raider game plays like Prince of Persia then Lara will likely to act like the Prince or if the game plays just like Uncharted, then Lara will act like Nate. This applies to the game's merchandise as well such as wallpapers with Lara in them posing like the Prince or Nate or any character in a game that is similar to Tomb Raider.
The Sex Symbol
Tomb Raider has suddenly changed to Rogue Raider with scenes of Lara Croft stripping and spying and doing all kinds of things a tomb raider wouldn't do. It seems to me that the attention isn't equally divided on both Lara's personality and appearance because her character is still shallow in comparison to her looks. Most of the effort is exerted on making her look sexier and more attractive. Lara Croft is looking younger, edgier, has more shiny lips, bigger **** and sexier hips with every upcoming Tomb Raider game. In the trailer for the new Tomb Raider, Lara sounds like she's having an orgasm. Whatever happend to the calm, cool, confident Lara who always keeps her composure?
Would it be too much to ask for a female lead in a video game who isn't just a pretty face?
Looks like Crystal Dynamics have forgotten about the reason why Lara goes on adventures which is to hunt for artifacts. But that's not what she ends up doing in the games is it? The new Lara doesn't seem to be able to separate between business and personal matters. You see her shoving her personal problems down our throats with missions as saving her mother or friend or her goldfish. Has it ever occured to Crystal Dynamics that a plot can still be interesting without going into details about someone's family or friends?Specially when the title says Tomb Raider and not Drama Raider.
Why is it impossible to have a video game character who's doing what he's doing for no other reason than his or her love for what they're doing? As human beings, we don't choose what interest us because of people, we choose them because we like doing these things. I didn't choose to play video games because I can save my mom or make up with my childhood friend but because I like playing video games.
The cast in Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider is a whole different story. They say show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are. If Lara's friends are what she is then Lara is one of the worst characters to ever appear in a video game. It's quite unfortunate to see our goody good girl Lara befriending folks who don't share her eternal and flaming love for archaeology. It has never crossed her mind that the people whom she's been travelling with across the globe looking for junk since they were in diapers had ulterior motives.
So Crystal Dynamics, unless your games are aimed at children, don't write stories about a girl going on a journey to save a friend or a family member.
The Mainstream Lara
In order to make the games commercially successful, Crystal Dynamics often base the stories of Tomb Raider games on popular folktales and legends as King Arthur or the Underworld. Not only they use the popularity of such stories, this also saves Crystal Dynamics the trouble of coming up with a new plot everytime they work on a new Tomb Raider. This is like watching a movie with Batman going one on one with Zeus because DC ran out of ideas.
Lara Croft has gone from a character who has once inspired millions of women and girls around the world to someone who follows trends. Lara, who used to be a trend setter, has turned into a Nate and god know what they make of her in future Tomb Raider games. It was uncharacterisic of Lara Croft to be listening to some track on an MP3 player after seeing her listen to clas-sical music in her mansion for years. It's sad to see my favorite character in a video game being turned into a marketing tool just so she appeals to younger generation of gamers.
With an online Tomb Raider game titled Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and a Survival Horror Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics continues to milk the success of one of the best Adventure games by making games with little tomb raiding to do and little to know about miss Croft.