Don some shades and grab your pistols; it’s time to check out the best Tomb Raider games of all time!
Lara Croft is one of the most recognisable gaming characters of all time. She’s seen more danger and travelled in more countries than I’ve had hot dinners, and she does it all while looking cool as hell.
She’s also one of the only characters that has managed to cross all console platforms, appearing on handhelds and home consoles alike.
Raid tombs on the bus, shoot guns from the sofa, and traverse a jungle from the jungle. with the best Tomb Raider games, there’s a style of adventure for everyone.
With that in mind, let’s check Lara’s most prolific adventures and find out which story made the biggest impact on the Retro Dodo team over the years!
Table of Contents
Tomb Raider for the GBC kicks off our list of the best Tomb Raider games of 2023. It’s a bona fide classic and the first handheld Lara Croft outing on the handheld.
To be honest, it’s also one of the best Gameboy Color games of all time too, so it needs to be in your collection!
The Nightmare Stone plays a big part in this game. It’s an artefact that contains an ancient evil that should never… ever be let loose.
So obviously some idiot wants to unleash it and you have to stop them.
One thing you’ll hear me talking a lot about in this article is how the Tomb Raider games hve lots of puzzle solving elements and storyline elements that involve finding secret areas. Tomb Raider for the GBC is no exception.
Use the A and B buttons to pull off kick-ass moves as you career through this 2D platforming masterpiece. If you’ve never played on a GBC before, this is a good title to start with for sure!
Having Tomb Raider Anniversary in our list is a little bit of a cheat, I’ll admit. Essentially, this is an updated and enhanced version of the original Tomb Raider title for the PS1.
A title that you will undoubtedly be seeing a little later on in this article!
It’s received the same treatment as the Spyro Re-Ignited Trilogy, with locations keeping the same feel but with new elements added in to make them even more exciting. The dialogue has had a major overhaul, as have the cutscenes and moves Lara uses too.
Lara running along walls is very reminiscent of the Prince of Persia, though she can’t turn back time like he can if she falls off!
Though she can slow down time when she’s fighting bosses thanks to the new adrenaline dodge mechanic which is super cool!
Finding new routes along ledges and jumping to reach new places is one of the main puzzle elements in this new version of the game. Join in cutscenes thanks to QTE action, and show enemies that there’s only room for one Tomb Raider in this town… jungle… tomb.
If Link and Mario are Nintendo’s go-to warriors and the Master Chief flies the flag for the Xbox, then Lara is 100% the PS1’s chosen champion.
Selling over 8 million copies in it’s lifetime, this game showed the gaming world that female characters are much more than just side characters that need saving. Without Tomb Raider 2, games like Returnal and Horizon: Zero Dawn might not even have existed!
It’s high time the rest of the world figures the same thing out too…
Lara found new moves, weapons, and vehicles when she showed up for work in Tomb Raider II. One of the best bits was not having to save your game at specific points by finding those crystals either.
I’d always die before I got to one!
Find a dagger that can turn its owner into a dragon when thrust into their heart. Sounds like a painful and unnecessary transformation to me, but definitely a cool bit of kit!
Fancy taking a virtual trip to India? Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft sees our kick-ass crusader heading out in search of a stone made from the core of a meteorite.
What follows is a global search for three other similar stones. She’s a bit of a jet-setter is Lara these days!
Once again, puzzle solving and lots of climbing and swimming take precedent as a main part of the gameplay. Lara can swim while attacking enemies underwater now too.
Is there nothing she can’t do?!
We’ve not talked about the firepower at Lara’s disposal yet, have we?
From harpoon guns to rocket launchers and uzis, this is one Tomb Raider that isn’t afraid to shoot first and ask questions later.
Sure, stealthy sneaking is always advisable, but going in all guns blazing works too!
New to the 3rd instalment is the ability to play the game levels in whichever order you choose too. How will you tackle the game?
I’m a huge fan of any game that’s steeped in Egyptian culture, which is why Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation had to feature in our list of the best Tomb Raider games!
Horus imprisoned Set in a secret Tomb. Thousands of years later, Lara unleashes Set by accident and almost causes the eradication of the human race.
Now, she has to imprison him once before, battling Set’s minions and other enemies as she avoids death at every turn.
Lara’s outing on the Dreamcast was always a joy to play. The puzzles are a lot more mind bending, with a Young Link/Adult Link interconnection vibe to them in some places.
If you haven’t played Ocarina of Time, then that wont make any sense!
As well as guns bigger than my arms, Lara now has access to Turok-style bows and arrows that explode and poison enemies.
As the games progress, so do the graphics too. See light bouncing off water, water dripping from Lara’s clothes, and other elements that make the game a more believable and immersive experience!
Here it is folks; the original Tomb Raider game takes the 5th spot in our best Tomb Raider games of all time!
Experience Tomb Raider Anniversary in it’s original form with the very first Tomb Raider outing. None of it would have been possible without this exciting adventure; combat, puzzles, danger, and hazards galore!
Just look at those graphics now; I can remember when they were cutting edge back in the day!
There aren’ many shooting games where the characters have unlimited ammo these days, but that wasn’t a problem back in the original Tomb Raider game.
Ok, so it was slightly overshadowed by the need to find those annoying crystals in order to save, but I guess being a tomb raiding treasure hunter has its ups and downs…
Will Lara finally find her mother trapped in Avalon? I guess you’ll have to play Tomb Raider: Underworld and find out!
I’ll say one thing for these Tomb Raider games, you certainly get to see some nice locations while paying them! Head from the Arctic to the Mediterranean as you search for treasure and learn about elements of Norse mythology along the way.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
The power of the PS3 makes these levels look unreal. As the Tomb Raider games progressed, they also became less about gun-toting and more about picking the right climbing paths to secret locations and solving mysteries.
Use the cool Sonar map to get a better view of your surroundings and experience the world in slow motion moves between dangerous scenarios.
I can just spend hours wandering around in this game without doing anything, and that gets even more true with the next game in our list too!
Lara underwent a complete redesign and character change in the 2013 game simply titled ‘Tomb Raider‘. In many ways, it feels more like Uncharted and the Last of Us, piggybacking on the success of the more ‘hollywood action movie-style’ games
Gone are the days of moving blocks as puzzles; this game feels much more thought out, with more shooting and escaping hazards gameplay for players to enjoy.
I guess if I had to describe the main difference, it feels more dangerous and more plausibly real.
Freely explore optional areas that tie into the main storyline and interact with people, places and objects along the way.
Lara was using zip lines way before Aloy made them popular too! Fast travel through a big word map, take part in QTE moments that include parachuting and escaping buildings on fire, and other stuff that you’ll need a change of pants for.
And the best part; health recovers automatically if you’re not being attacked. Result!
Tomb Raider: Legend takes the silver medal in our list of the best Tomb Raider games of 2023!
Back to the original Lara Croft character design momentarily, this 2006 classic on the PS2, players see a game-long race to be the first to reach an ancient artefact.
Cue searching different locations around the world, lots of near-death experiences, and a whole bunch of puzzles to solve, alongside flashbacks about Lara’s past.
Oh yeah; Legend gets pretty deep at times!
Lara can pretty much scale anything jump off everything int his game. Fire flares, attack enemies, swing and grapple; the world is your highly dangerous oyster!
And of course, it wouldn’t be an early Tomb Raider game without Lara running around with two pistols in her hands, would it? With that and a pocket full of grenades, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
I’m a big fan of the motorbike and jeep segments in this game too; anything that makes Lara even more badass is ok in my book!
You’ve been patient, and now I can reveal that Rise Of The Tomb Raider is the best Tomb Raider game of 2023.
This game is an absolute tour de force. Carrying on from the previous game as part of the rebranded Tomb Raider franchise, Lara is back exploring incredible locations that, thanks to the power of the next gen consoles, look real enough to step into!
Check out the still below; It’s the ind of place I’d like to visit on a fact-finding holiday! Scale ice with picks, get into skirmishes with multiple enemies with a knife, and stealthily move through dangerous areas occupied by animals and humans alike.
Rise of the Tomb Raider wins this best Tomb Raider games article for a number of reasons. Firstly, the skill tree adds a cool new dynamic and adds categories to unearth and skills to learn along the way.
Enhance weapons and use skill points at each base camp checkpoint too. Wield a bow and arrow or a hunting rifle. Craft items, play through night and day.
Basically, it’s the most in-depth Tomb Raider title ever made, with many of the features I love in Breath of the Wild playing a big part in the gameplay.
Now a game with Lara and Link joining forces… that would be something special!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.