Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was originally released in 1996 for the Sega Saturn, with MS-DOS and PlayStation versions following shortly thereafter. Tomb Raider was also released into the mobile gaming market, for Windows Mobile Professional in 2002, the Nokia N-Gage in 2003. The game was released for the PlayStation Network in North America in August 2009, and in Europe in August 2010. Tomb Raider follows the exploits of Lara Croft, an English female archaeologist in search of ancient treasures.
The game was commercially and critically successful, selling 8 million copies worldwide and earning a 91 aggregate score according to Metacritic. It is considered widely influential, serving as a template for many 3D action/adventure games that would follow. It was not long before Tomb Raider and its star went from a single video game adventure to a full-fledged multimedia brand that spanned a number of game sequels, as well as related merchandise and media, including two feature-length Hollywood films. Lara Croft herself would go on to become a major video game icon, even eclipsing the popularity of her own games, a distinction she shares with only a select few other video game characters.
The story opens with a prologue in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, when a nuclear test causes a great explosion which exposes an ancient device buried beneath the desert surface. The device unlocks and reveals a person in suspended animation. The story then continues in the present day.
At a hotel in present day Calcutta, Lara Croft is contacted by an American named Larson Conway, who works for the wealthy businesswoman Jacqueline Natla, owner of Natla Technologies. At Natla's request, Lara sets out on an expedition to recover a mysterious artefact called the Scion (pronounced /ˈskiː.ɑn/) from the lost tomb of Qualopec, in the mountains of Peru. After successfully retrieving the object, she is attacked by Larson who attempts to claim it. She beats him then questions him, learning that the artefact she has is only a fragment and that a man named Pierre Dupont has been hired by Natla to collect the rest.
Lara breaks into Natla Technologies to find out Pierre's whereabouts. She discovers a medieval monk's journal, which reveals the depths of an ancient monastery of St. Francis in Greece to house the tomb of Tihocan, a ruler of Atlantis, along with a second piece of the Scion. Travelling to the monastery, Lara descends through an expansive underground complex, pursued and attacked throughout by Pierre Dupont. At the tomb of Tihocan, Lara recovers the second piece of the Scion and finally kills Pierre. An inscription inside the tomb states that Tihocan was "one of the two just rulers" of Atlantis.
When Lara joins the two pieces of the Scion, she receives a vision of the three Atlantean rulers and their respective pieces of the Scion. One of them utilises it to create a mutant breed, but the other two confront her, and take her piece of the Scion. Then Atlantis is struck by a fireball from the skies, and the three pieces of the Scion become scattered as the civilisation is destroyed. One of them goes to Egypt, Lara's next destination.
Lara travels to the City of Khamoon, a temple complex in Egypt that houses the final fragment. Here she battles the fierce mutants seen in her vision, and is once again confronted by Larson, this time in a battle to the death. She then takes the final piece of the Scion from the underground sanctuary. Upon leaving the tomb, she is ambushed by Natla and her henchmen, who steal the three artefacts and nearly kill her.
Having escaped, Lara sneaks onto their boat, which takes her to a remote island where mining operations of Natla Technologies have partially exposed the Great Pyramid of Atlantis. After making her way through the mines dispatching Natla's goons and the mutant-infested interior of Atlantis, Lara reaches the heart of the pyramid chamber, where the complete Scion has been fused together as a source of power. Touching it, Lara receives another vision, where Natla is revealed as the previously seen third ruler of Atlantis. She betrays her co-rulers by abusing the power of the Scion for genetic experimentation, and as punishment is locked in a stasis cell by Qualopec and Tihocan, her resting place until the prologue of the game.
Natla enters the chamber and confronts Lara; having reclaimed the artefacts, she attempts to restore her former power with an army of mutants. Lara throws her into a chasm, apparently killing her and confronts her newest mutant abomination. She then destroys the Scion, starting a chain reaction of collapse in the pyramid. As she makes her way out she meets Natla a final time, now mutated and winged. After beating her, Lara flees the island just as the place is destroyed.