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Lara Croft is the main protagonist of Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Interactive's popular Tomb Raider series.

Lara is generally presented as a beautiful, intelligent, athletic, and somewhat reckless Englishwoman of noble birth who travels the world in pursuit of priceless artefacts. Known as both an archaeologist and an adventurer, she frequently ventures into ancient, and often very hazardous, tombs and ruins. In addition to traps and puzzles, Lara encounters a variety of enemies including rivals, gangsters, dangerous animals (including dinosaurs), legendary creatures, and supernatural beings. The fantastic nature of her archaeology related adventures have drawn comparisons to Indiana Jones.

In her original biography, which applied to the first six games in the series, she survived a plane crash at the age of 21. The experience changed her by making her realize how much she loved dangerous, thrilling adventures and she took up tomb raiding to fulfil this desire. Her parents disagreed with this lifestyle and subsequently disowned her, leading Lara to fund her adventures by writing about her discoveries.

When the series shifted developers, starting with Legend, some changes were made to her biography. Most notably, the plane crash now happened when Lara was 9 and also involved her mother Amelia, who disappeared shortly afterwards. Her father Richard, a renowned archaeologist, then trained Lara in his field while he searched for clues about what had really happened to Amelia. He disappeared as well when Lara was still a teenager, leaving her alone with a lot of questions and a personal feeling of guilt because she believed she had caused her mother's disappearance.

First BiographyEdit

Lara Croft, daughter of Lord Henshingly Croft, was born in England on February 14th 1968. She was raised to be an aristocrat from birth, and had lived in luxury aloof from the world at large. From the age of 3 Lara began her learning with a private tutor. Lara attended Wimbledon High School for girls at the age of 11.

At 16 her parents decided she should broaden her education by studying at Gordonstoun, one of Britain's most prominent boarding schools. One day Lara came across a copy of National Geographic on the hall table. The front cover featured a familiar name - Professor Werner Von Croy. A respected archaeologist, Von Croy had once lectured at Lara's school to pupils & parents alike.

The experience had a profound effect on Lara, triggering a desire for travel to remote locations in search of adventure. In some ways Von Croy had become an inspirational figure for Lara. As Lara read further, she learned that Von Croy was currently preparing for an archaeological tour across Asia, culminating in a potential new discovery to be made in Cambodia. Unable to pass up this opportunity, Lara burst into the room, thrust the article in front of her parents & without hesitation demanded she accompany Von Croy on his expedition.

Lord Croft could hardly disagree that travel was an education in itself. As Lara argued the case further, he found himself walking over to the desk & penning a letter to Von Croy. He Introduced himself as an influential society figure and offered financial assistance in exchange for his daughter's place on the expedition. Von Croy's reply assured the Henshingly Croft's that the territories were friendly and that he had ample experience to look after both his & Lara's well being.

Lara's company as an assistant would be welcome, as was the offer of such a generous cheque. He remembered Lara from his lecture - her incessant yet insightful questions had made quite an impression upon him. And so it was agreed by all that Lara would accompany Von Croy for the duration of the tour.

After attending a Swiss finishing school at the age of 21, Lara's marriage into wealth had seemed assured, until one day, on her way home from a skiing holiday, her chartered plane crashed deep into the heart of the Himalayan Mountains. Lara probably should have died there, as most people would have, instead she learned how to depend on her wits to stay alive in hostile conditions a world away from her sheltered upbringing.

Two weeks later when she walked into the village of Tokakeriby her experiences had had a profound effect on her and in that process transformed herself as well. Her Himalayan odyssey was both miraculous and enlightening, as the young woman not only survived, but gained a perspective on herself and the world that made her past appear shallow and naive. Out of the darkness of her ordeal, she saw her future reflected in a different light.

She felt profoundly that there was more for her in this life than the coddled existence that had become her numbing habit. She realized that she was only truly alive when she was travelling alone. Over the eight following years she acquired an intimate knowledge of ancient civilizations across the globe. Her family soon disowned their prodigal daughter, hoping she would wed The Earl of Farrington. She turned to writing to fund her trips.

Famed for discovering several ancient sites of profound archaeological interest and gaining some notoriety for having slain an actual Bigfoot in North America, she made a name for herself by publishing travel books & detailed journals of her exploits.

Lara Croft became the seeker of truths, both large and small, and in that pursuit she continues to this day.

Second Biography from Legend onwardsEdit

Lady Lara Croft is an 11th generation Countess. The Croft family was granted the title and rights to Abbingdon, Surrey by King Edward VI in 1547. The Croft Estates are comprised of three separate manor houses, two of which are maintained by the National Trust, and the third is home to Lady Croft.

Lady Croft herself has suffered several personal tragedies, including the deaths of both parents on separate occasions before she came of age. Reputably an accredited genius and Olympic-standard gymnast, Lady Croft is the focus of wild speculation and intense debate in both the scientific and political communities in addition to the popular press. Idealized and vilified in equal measure, she is perhaps one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of our time.

Lara Croft was born in Surrey's Parkside hospital to Lady Amelia Croft and the notorious archaeologist Lord Richard Croft, the late Earl of Abbingdon. Between the ages of three and six, she attended the Abbingdon Girls School, where it quickly became clear that she was an exceptionally gifted child.

At the age of nine she survived a plane crash in the Himalayas that took the life of her mother. In perhaps the first story of her prodigious indomitability, she somehow survived a solo ten-day trek across the Himalayan mountains, one of the most hostile environments on the planet. The story goes that when she arrived in Katmandu she went to the nearest bar and made a polite telephone call to her father asking if it would be convenient for him to come and pick her up.

For six years following the plane crash, Lara rarely left her father's side, traveling around the world from one archaeological dig site to another. During this period she was ostensibly given a standard education from private tutors, but it would probably be more accurate to say she was her father's full time apprentice.

When Lara was fifteen, her father went missing in Cambodia. Extensive searches by the authorities and Lara herself turned up human remains that could not definitively be identified. Since Lord Croft's body was not officially recovered, Lara could not directly inherit the Croft title and Lara was thrust into a bitter family feud over control of the Abbingdon estates with her uncle Lord Errol Croft. Lara eventually won the legal battle, and took possession of her inheritance but at the cost of a deep rift in the Croft family that left her estranged from her living relatives.

Lady Lara Croft has already eclipsed her father's career; as of this writing she is credited with the discovery of some fifteen archaeological sites of international significance. These sites are still yielding new and exciting insights to the past on an ongoing basis. No one can deny Lady Croft's incredible contribution to the field of archaeology, however she is not without her detractors.

Lara's methods have been frequently called into question by government officials and other practising archaeologists. She has been described variously as anything from cavalier to downright irresponsible. Some scholars have suggested that her notorious lack of documentation and brute force methodology have contaminated countless sites and done more harm than good. There have even been (unsubstantiated) allegations that Lara actually takes items from these sites before informing the international community of their locations, and that she is nothing more than a glorified treasure hunter.

Despite the tabloid press' infatuation with her, Lara Croft guards her privacy with complete determination. She has never granted an interview nor made any personal comment to any of the rumours associated with her, preferring to express herself through brief formal statements given by the family solicitors, Hardgraves and Moore.

Predictably there have been a number of unofficial biographies printed about the young Countess, that attribute wild and fantastic feats to her exploits, ranging from the discovery of living dinosaurs in the Congo to infiltrating the infamous Area 51 in Nevada. The official line from the Croft Estate to these works is simply that "...these books are utter rot: disgraceful, trashy works of total fiction."

Nevertheless if you even make a cursory search on the Internet for the Unexplained, the Mysterious and the Downright Unbelievable, time and again you will find Lara Croft's name appearing. She appears to be a hero to conspiracy theorists and alternate history aficionados alike.

It seems the further you dig into Lady Croft's life, the more bewildering and mysterious she becomes. Perhaps like the archaeological sites she discovers, we have only scratched the surface of this incredible woman and the complex and inscrutable secrets buried deep within her.

Combat experienceEdit

In most appearances, Lara Croft displays an exceptionally high level of combat skill, particularly with firearms. In Legend, for example, she is able to single-handedly fight her way through a small army of mercenaries. How she attained such proficiency is not explained in the games.

In the film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider a photograph can be seen showing Lara at the centre of a Military unit. This, along with one of the films taglines ("Born into Wealth. Groomed by the Elite. Trained for Combat."), suggests that she may have had formal military experience. In the sequel, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, it is implied that she served with the Royal Marines, and that her service involved battlefield combat. However, none of the games mention or imply military service, making this explanation exclusive to Lara's film backstory.

Both the games and films do show some of Lara's personal training regimen through the various incarnations of her home, Croft Manor. In the first film, she has a dangerous combat robot that she uses for training, and in the second film, she makes a horseback marksmanship tour of her estate. In the games, Croft Manor usually features obstacle courses or a large gymnasium, typically focusing more on Lara's agility and mobility rather than direct combat.

PersonalityEdit

Lara is consistently depicted as a highly confident, independent, and headstrong person. She is also very brave, rarely showing any sign of fear in very dangerous or lethal situations. Beyond this, there are a number of significant personality differences between the continuities. In the first continuity, Lara is shown as dark, enigmatic, sardonic, and even cold-blooded at times (see controversy below). In Legend, she is shown as a more light-hearted and respectful person who is more open emotionally, and is also portrayed as more feminine than the first continuity Lara. This is due in part to her higher level of interaction with people, such as her assistants, Zip and Alister, as well as people from her past. In Legend, she is also shown to have a love for dizzying heights and dangerous ancient traps, much to the dismay of Zip and Alister.


Outside the tombsEdit

Lara Croft is considered by critics and fans alike as one of the most significant game characters in popular culture, and the most famous female video-game character, as listed by The Guinness Book of World Records.

Lara appeared in many "Lucozade" advertisements during the late 90's to 2002. The name of the drink even changed in "Larazade" for a while. She was also a cover girl for popular style magazine The Face in 1997. In addition, writer Douglas Coupland dedicated a book to her, analysing her influence on pop culture.

Lara made a guest appearance during U2's PopMart Tour and appeared in a music video by the German punk band Die Ärzte. She has also been featured in SEAT car commercials, and three G4 commercials. In all of these appearances, Lara was represented by computer animation. Lara also appeared in a Visa commercial which featured a live-action Lara, portrayed by Sofia Vergara, interacting with her in-game counterpart. The website Education City parodies Lara Croft in a series of games starring "Klara Loft".

Lara is the subject of a song, "Amami Lara" (Love me Lara) by the Italian songwriter Eugenio Finardi. The song was presented during the 1999 edition of the Festival della Canzone Italiana in Sanremo.

CharacteristicsEdit

A timeline showing how Lara has changed from each game, quite a contrast from the orignal game as you can see. New game engines with enhanced graphics made it possible to make Lara look more and more 'real'. Starting with the Legend engine used in Tomb Raider Legend, Crystal Dynamics began turning Lara into a 'real' person. The latest Lara (from Tomb Raider Underworld) is created by a new engine specially built for the latest game making her look 'altogether photo-real' according to Play.

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