New 'Tomb Raider' Game Explores Lara Croft's Ruin

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The third installment in the 'Tomb Raider' series, starring Croft (above) is about "the decisions you make after things have gone wrong." Courtesy of Square Enix

Lara Croft, the pop culture star and hero of the popular Tomb Raider video games, has seen her share of tough times. She battled her way through two games of a planned trilogy, Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, thwarting the aims of evil men. In the third installment, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Croft herself is guilty of committing the game's most evil act, with big consequences: She inadvertently triggers the apocalypse.

The end of the world gives Croft a chance to display the qualities that have made her a legendary adventurer through 20 years of games and movies, including the 2001 film starring Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But she also gets a chance to blossom into the character she was always meant to be.

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The third installment in the 'Tomb Raider' series, starring Croft (above) is about "the decisions you make after things have gone wrong." Courtesy of Square Enix

The game starts with Croft racing to secure a priceless ancient knife known as the Key of Chak Chel, which rests deep in a sacred cave. She unwisely ignores a massive mural right above her head that warns of imminent doom should anyone dare take the prize. The scene is reminiscent of the opening of the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indiana Jones flees a cave half a step ahead of a giant boulder. Instead of running from a rock, Croft spends the game running through a city that crumbles around her as the world is reduced to shambles.

Croft stole the knife to keep it from falling into the hands of Dominguez, who heads an infamous group of global treasure hunters. His plan to free humankind from sin and weakness entails destroying it and then rebuilding. Ironically, Croft is the one to kick-start it.

Croft spends most of the game trying to bring back light and warmth to a world she has made cold and dark. This calls for an unconventional superpower: basic human kindness. Many problems she solves simply by talking to people and finding her place in the communities she encounters, says Shadow of the Tomb Raider lead writer Jill Murray. In one instance, Croft discovers the location of an important tomb. After the opening debacle, she's less eager to go barging in. Instead, she sits down and shares a beer with a local townsperson, who reveals the dangers that await her.

"It's not always about who is faster, stronger or has more pure ideals," says Murray. "It's the decisions you make after things have gone wrong. How do you accept what you've done and move forward?"

New 'Tomb Raider' Game Explores Lara Croft's Ruin