Who is the most iconic female video game protagonist? The likely answer from any gamer would be Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider franchise. When the original game released back in 1996 on the Playstation 1, despite some questionable body proportions, it was a defining moment for female gamers and gaming in general. For one of the first times, a strong female protagonist was front and centre in a video game. We have seen her evolve and be redesigned over the decades and still remains relevant to this day.
The original games still hold a lot of love from fans, despite the fact that they haven’t aged the best. While she didn’t have much dialogue throughout the original games, what she had portrayed her as a confident, charming character that isn’t afraid to tell people what she thinks. It also helps that she has insane gymnastic capabilities and the jumping abilities of Spring-heel Jack. She took on mafia, wolves, bears, mummies and even her own doppelgänger, terrorising the local inhabitants with her iconic dual pistols of death, that never run out of ammo (where does she keep it all?).
The games would eventually be rebooted in the mid-2000s into a few decent games, but they were nothing special. However, they did accomplish a number of things, one of which was providing more backstory for Lara’s and fleshing out her character. Tomb Raider Underworld was my favourite in this era of Tomb Raider. It was a beautiful game that had some interesting and quite difficult puzzles, whilst ending that trilogy in a good enough way. However, it wasn’t until the next reboot that Lara truly became a more realistic and strong character.
This new trilogy would act as an origin story of how Lara we knew up to this point became who she is. The first game in the trilogy Tomb Raider (2013) was a brilliant experience where we got to see Lara’s first kill and the effect that it had on her. However, this would be ruined somewhat by the fact that after this initial scene, she’s completely fine in murdering anyone who comes in her way literally like half an hour later. Both Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015) and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) further expanded on her story arc and we get to see a more imperfect morally conflicted person. Lara has had such an incredible legacy that made such an impact in the gaming industry, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this iconic video game heroine.
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