In 1998, Lara Croft returned in yet another globetrotting adventure. Tomb Raider III marks the third game in the beloved Tomb Raider franchise and Square Enix’s third gaming spotlight of 2021.
Publisher Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics are taking the entirety of 2021 to celebrate the franchise. Each month, a different game in the Tomb Raider series is going to be put under the spotlight.
Let’s celebrate 1998’s entry to the Tomb Raider franchise. I’ll also be breaking down any of Square Enix’s announcements surrounding our favourite duel pistol-wielding heroine.
"I'm Not Interrupting, Am I?"
One of her most expansive adventures yet, Lara Croft is back in full force in Tomb Raider III. In this game, you’ll be exploring five different regions for a variety of relics and artefacts. Join Lara as she searches for ancient meteorite artefacts scattered throughout the world. From the jungles of India to rooftops in London with areas like the South Pacific Islands, Nevada desert and Antarctica in between, there’s an epic adventure for everyone!
At the time, the third game was taking a huge leap when it came to graphics. Tomb Raider III was built and designed on an upgraded version of the Tomb Raider engine. Used for the previous two games in the franchise, this engine granted Lara a much smoother and less... triangular look.
In 1998, Lara Croft was well on her way to becoming an icon of British video games. Tomb Raider III would sell over 6 million units. Miss Croft also appeared all over merchandise and Playstation's magazine. I remember stealing my brother's copy of this magazine, I was so excited to see my favourite game in a magazine. The launch party for this game even took place in London’s Natural History Museum. Unfortunately, no dinosaurs were let loose on the fans and press.
Tomb Raider III also had one of the most iconic versions of Croft Manor. Winston once again returned but this time he was joined by a racetrack! Although globetrotting with Lara in the main story was so immersive, something about Croft Manor in this game had me coming back for years in my childhood.
"Business, Not Pleasure"
Unlike previous entries, Tomb Raider III’s celebrations didn’t include many announcements. Let's recap some of the bigger announcements and how fans are reacting.
The Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy is now widely available across consoles, letting fans jump back into the rebooted timeline. Similarly, fans of Fortnite will know that all of Lara's forms within the game have proven to be extremely popular. Thanks to the inclusion of Tomb Raider, many fans have found themselves downloading and playing Fortnite for the first time. I'm including myself in that one!
Although new announcements from Square Enix haven't been flowing, the fan celebration has been on another level! With social polls, cosplay guides and a stunning fan art gallery, people are really sharing their love with this now 25-year-old franchise. I'd recommend checking out the TR25 Pixel Art downloads over on the anniversary site.
"All I Want is the Artifact"
Another month, another Tomb Raider game celebrated. It was at this point in the franchise that fans really fell head over heels for Lara. Appearing on mousemats and posters to music videos and magazines, Tomb Raider had nestled itself into pop culture.
Next month, we'll be looking at Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. The fourth game in the series spices up the formula and pushes our heroine to deadly limits.