Ever since we were first introduced to Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series on October 25, 1996, the world has been gripped by the virtual femme fatal. The encapsulation of kick ass moves and female charm, Croft has raked in millions over the years thanks to her ability to move with the times.
When Croft’s creator Toby Gard realized many of his colleagues at Core Design were choosing the female characters in Virtua Fighter, he decided that his next venture would involve a woman. Originally called Laura Cruz and pegged as a tough-talking, no-nonsense South African, Gard’s character broke the mold and, unsurprisingly, the bank.
After switching her name to Lara Croft, giving her a British accent and making her slightly warmer, the original Tomb Raider game has sold more than 7.5 million copies since its release. Not only that, but it’s helped Eidos Interactive reverse a $2.6 million annual loss into a $14.5 million profit in just a single year. Off the back of this initial success, the franchise has grown beyond all expectations and now includes everything from casino games to movies.
Croft Crossed the Gaming Divide and Found New Fans
In fact, if there was ever any evidence needed to justify Tomb Raider’s place among the gaming greats, it’s its ability to cross genres. Although still a part of the gaming industry, Tomb Raider the slot game is something completely separate to the original console game. Now sitting alongside a selection of similarly themed movie slots, Tomb Raider the slot game allows you to embark on a cash-fuelled adventure with Miss Croft across five reels and 15 playlines.
When you compare Tomb Raider to other slots from 32Red, where it’s available, you can see that it’s the styling that makes it stand out. In total, 32Red has 109 “classic slots” with betting limits and prizes ranging from $0.01 to $100,000+ and while these slots all have their own central theme, few players can resist the appeal of Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider Secret of the Sword.
Through a combination of iconic images, subtle sounds and bonus games that complement the “kick ass” storyline of the original game, these slots have become a hit with gamers of all persuasions. From serious spinners who have enjoyed online slots for years to console gamers looking for a different way to interact with Miss Croft, these products have captured the imagination of masses and that has allowed them to stand out from the crowd, even on a major gambling site.
It’s More than Just a Game for Miss Croft
So what’s the other reason for Tomb Raider’s success? Well, as we’ve already seen, it’s her ability to evolve. Ever since her conception, Croft has moved with the times and that has allowed her to maintain her appeal to international audiences. The original idea to switch her nationality from South African to British was so that US audiences would have an easier time relating to her national identity.
In terms of relatability, a number of pop culture franchises can now be found in the casino world for that exact reason. New Jersey’s casino site Caesars has captured the American vibe and brought Wheel of Fortune slots to a US audience. Similarly, Dazzle Casino offers music fans the chance to listen to Guns N Roses’ greatest hits while they spin five reels in search of a $150,000 jackpot. In a way, 32Red’s decision to base a slot on Tomb Raider is a testament to the franchise’s long-lived popularity and appeal.
Over the years, this evolution has continued. The most obvious transformation in Lara Croft is her looks. In the original game, Croft was made up of 540 polygons. Fast forward to 2014 and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and we see a more realistic looking character where each strand of hair moves individually and subsurface light scattering allows light to pass through her skin for a more authentic look.
A Feminine Figure Everyone Can Relate To
However, it’s not just the graphics which have changed. Original Croft had a tiny waist and an inescapable bust. Today, thanks in part to Angelina Jolie’s onscreen portrayal of her, Croft has a more lifelike figure. Broader hips and a slightly more toned appearance are much more in line with modern female shapes and aspirations. According to Business Insider’s recap of Croft’s timeline, she’s also taken to wearing pants instead of hot pants (shorts). This subtle wardrobe change is yet again a move towards Croft as a strong female character that’s noteworthy for her skills rather than her body.
Although Croft will remain a sex symbol to some, there’s no doubt she’s become less “sexualized”, as game writer Meagan Marie has pointed out. Through this humanization process, Croft has once again crossed boundaries and been able to appeal to more people. Just as her presence in the iGaming industry cast her in a new light and made her accessible to more gaming fans, her image change has made her more relatable to the average consumer.
Naturally, like all successful franchises, the evolution of Croft will never stop. Twenty years after her birth she’s managed to captivate most of the Western world with her charms and we would bet on her to still be around in another couple of decades; albeit in a slightly different guise.