RETRO REPLAY ► Tomb Raider – Lara returns for Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

The Gadget Helpline: RETRO REPLAY feature will bring you a weekly throwback to the days of old school gaming and will present a little history on the new wave of classic titles currently getting a revival on our modern gaming gadgets.

Just as Lara Croft herself would delve into the past to crack an ancient mystery the Gadget Helpline this week digs into the past and brings you a look back at the history of Tomb Raider ahead of the series touching down on Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY this November and the remake version coming our way in 2012.

Full Title: Tomb Raider
Original Platform: Sony Playstation
Release Year: 1996
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Back in 1996, busting out of a gaming scene dominated by a more breed masculine heroes, far-from-typical English archaeologist Lara Croft first set pulses racing. The disowned heiress and survivor of a Himalayan airplane crash not only impressed with her polygons but also with the fast paced, intense third-person action and Indiana Jones style settings and storylines of the first Tomb Raider title, which debuted on Sony’s original Playstation console.

Tomb Raider was a massive success, tapping into gamer’s imaginations and reaching over 8-million copies sold worldwide and set the standard for the numerous 3D format adventure/action titles that dominated the mid to late 90s console game market – it also spawned seven follow-ups and a reboot to come, these spreading across most of the popular consoles and recently Apple iPhone and iPad tablets. Lara also appeared in two movies, the British character portrayed by American actress Angelina Jolie. But the less said about those films the better!

Back to the beginning, our Lara was just setting out on her first gaming adventure in which the player took control of the heroine in the third person perspective which became the traditional mode of play throughout the entire franchise. The object of the game is to lead Lara through a myriad of mazes, walking, running, climbing and swimming in a three-dimensional, ninety-degree environment which brought a twist to the classic platformers and at the time looked fantastic through the Playstation’s fifth generation gaming tech.

The games overall plot involved collecting 3 ancient Scion artefacts. This while using skill to complete complex puzzles, master difficult landscapes and traps using a selection of weapons which could be picked up along Lara’s travels, as well as fending off vicious beasts or sometimes human foes. At the end of a stage players would usually need to combat a more superior threat, or ‘Boss’. But besting certain scenarios would allow players to record their progress at specific save points.

An added bonus, if you chose to pursue, were secret items which would contribute to the players overall completion of the Tomb Raider game. But these were often very hard to find, and their location varied in difficulty.

In the first of an epic series, the worldly travel took Miss Croft to a vast array of exotic and dangerous global locations such as Egypt, Greece, Brazil and the mythical Atlantis.

Over the next 15 years, Lara underwent a few changes in appearance, as gaming platforms developed and graphics got sharper her physiology changed also. Many a fan-boy laid their head in their hands at the news that the much-admired archaeologist would be receiving a ‘reduction’ to her most valuable artifacts. But as Lara became a more fleshed out and a more realistic character the complaints we’re quickly silenced. She’s earned her reputation as more than just a collection of good looking pixels.

Leaping onto the Android mobile software for the first time, adventure saga Tomb Raider appears on the ‘Playstation Phone’ – otherwise known as the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY. Read the Gadget Helpline’s release coverage on Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light available on the Android Market this November. 

Gamers can enjoy the sight of Miss Croft on console again soon – albeit in a new more realistic form – when the ‘reboot’ of Tomb Raider restarts the journey of the heroine from her very beginnings at some point in mid to late 2012.

Check out this classic trailer for the original Tomb Raider:

In last week’s RETRO REPLAY we took a look back at the Street Fighter legacy ahead of the classic combat game hitting LG Android gadgets in an exclusive deal with Capcom! 

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