The 1996 release of Tomb Raider was one of the defining moments in video-gaming history. The star of the game, Lara Croft, became an overnight media sensation, bringing console gaming into the mainstream for the first time. It could be argued that Tomb Raider almost single-handedly sowed the seeds for the multi-million dollar video gaming industry that exists today.
Lady Croft, an unusual gaming protagonist, was introduced as a plumy-sounding British aristocrat-come-archaeologist on a mission into the mountains of Peru, searching for an artefact called the "scion”. The game would take Lara and the player on a country-hopping excursion that would make Indiana Jones proud.
The complete lack of any heads-up display meant Lara could run, jump and explore without the sniff of a heath bar or associated on-screen prompts. Only when Lara drew her weapons would we see the ammo and health indicators. The rest of the time we could enjoy an unhindered view of the mysterious tomb environments and Lara’s perfectly formed (if somewhat disproportional) physique.
To this day, the origin of Lara’s substantial chest measurements remains a controversial subject. Toby Gard, the game’s designer, still maintains that it was a "slip of the mouse”. Ironically, the graphical limitations of the PSOne meant that Lara’s ample bosom was presented looking more like two cones that’d have your eyes out if you accidentally fell on them.
Tomb Raider offered players the most breathtakingly large game environments ever seen at the time. Huge caverns filled with mind-bending puzzles and dangerous wild animals. In those simpler times we thought nothing of Lara’s tendency to slaughter endangered species. Not content with just killing animals on the extinction list, Lara’s programmers also gave her the opportunity to take out creatures that were already extinct. The mere mention of Lara’s T-Rex encounter is enough to send many a Tomb Raider veteran’s heart a flutter.