Tomb Raider is seen as one of the most innovative franchises from the 1990s. While the series' popularity has fluctuated over the years, it is still considered incredibly important to the evolution of gaming, particularly to 3D platforming and third person shooters.
Lara Croft has also attained iconic status, being considered by many to be the greatest heroine in gaming. However this popularity is not limited to gaming, but pop culture in general. This popularity has led to many appearances, references, homages, parodies and even ripoffs through the years.
The game Agony has an achievement called "Lara would be proud!" for finding all secret rooms.
Ali G Indahouse
In the 2002 movie Ali G Indahouse, whilst breaking into the a manor house Ali states "The great hall is exactly like the one in Lara Croft's house. Y'know from Tomb Raider II on PlayStation."
Interestingly, the film features Rhona Mitra as Kate Hedges, the Deputy Prime Minister's assistant. Mitra was the model for Lara Croft from 1997-1998.
In the third season episode of the animated TV series American Dad!, "Failure is Not a Factory Installed Option", the character Steve Smith directly compares the figure of a girl in his school to that of Lara Croft.
In Chapter 10 of the Assassination Classroom manga, Lara Croft appears in one student's imagination. Her appearance is based on that of Angelina Jolie in the first film. This scene appears in the anime adaptation in Season 1 Episode 4.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
The 2013 video game, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, has an optional assassination contract titled "Tomb Raiders".
Assassin's Creed IV DLC expansions Freedom Cry and Aveline, were written by Jill Murray, who would later go on to become the head writer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Asterix & Obelix XXL 2: Mission: Las Vegum
The character Larry Craft is a parody of Lara Croft, having the same dress and hairstyle as her, but being a fat roman soldier. He appears as statues and on some posters, striking the same poses as Lara on the covers of Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II and the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
In Disney's 2001 animated feature film, the secondary antagonist Helga Sinclair seems to be physically and psychologically inspired by Lara Croft. Her appearance features an athletic body, a braid ponytail, combat boots, a white tank top, gloves, and she is often seen using a pistol. Like Lara in the first game, her goal is to find the lost city of Atlantis. Her official biography states that she went through a lot of travels at an early age, as well as an exposure to a variety of cultures and customs, she exhibited exceptional athletic skill at a very young age,with the influence of her father she learned the combat arts and firearms training, and is highly skilled in many forms of martial arts and firearms use. She is shown to be very intelligent, determined, charismatic but still seducing.
The 2020 video game by Crystal Dynamics, features several references to Tomb Raider. The character Black Widow has an outfit called Dustwalker that is almost identical to Lara's leather jacket from Rise of the Tomb Raider. Also, the character Kate Bishop makes reference in her journals to being a member of the Sisters of Artemis archery club, which is the same archery club that Lara was a member of in the Survivor Timeline.
The 2001 video game Barbie: Explorer, is considered to be a clone of the Tomb Raider series in terms of gameplay. The main character of Barbie also sports similar attire to Lara Croft, donning short-shorts, and wearing her hair in a braid (also playing the game in two player mode will cause player 2 to have a palette swap version of Barbie with brown hair, causing her to bare even more resemblance to Lara.) Many of the animations in game look similar to those feature in older Tomb Raider games, with the monkey bars animation being almost identical to the animation used in Tomb Raider III up to Tomb Raider: Chronicles. The game also features Egypt and Tibet as locales visited in game, both of which featured in Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II and Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
In this manga/anime, the character of Revy, real name Rebecca Lee, is a mercenary. She is the female second protagonist of this series, and seems to be based on Lara Croft in terms of appearance and capabilities. Like Lara Croft, she has brown hair worn in a ponytail and amber-brown eyes. She wears a black crop top, short, a belt, military-style boots, finger-less black gloves, and holsters for her two pistols. She is beautiful and has a temper. She is an outstanding marks-woman and expert in weaponry, being able to use a multitude of weapons, such as pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, submarine rifles etc... Because of her ambidextrous sharpshooting skills with her two pistols, she is nicknamed "Two Hand". She also rides motorcycles.
In this 1997 PC first-person shooter, typing 'lara croft' is a cheat code that gives all weapons and ammunition.
Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon
In the 2003 video game Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, the character of Nico Collard wears shorts, boots and a backpack (the backpack is hard to see due to her hat hanging around her neck) similar to that of Lara Croft during the sections of the game set in the Congo, Egypt and Glastonbury.
Interestingly, the Broken Sword series launched around the same time as Tomb Raider in late 1996, and Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon was released several months after Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, both games also featured Paris and Prague as key locations to the game.
Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now
In this 1998 game, Lara is among the potential victims to be crushed with your car, one would find an certain 'Cara Loft' dressed in a similar clothing to Lara.
Cat Quest has a quest series consisting of three quests involving character Cara Loft, an archeologist who looks for info on the history of Dragonbloods.
Clive 'N' Wrench
Clive 'N' Wrench is a upcoming game that has a character dressed as classic Lara with her prototype name Laura Cruz appearing in a level called Tempus Tombs.
Crash Bandicoot: Warped
In the 1998 video game Crash Bandicoot: Warped, the level "Tomb Wader" is an obvious play on the Tomb Raider series, the level features an Egyptian aesthetic.
Interestingly the Crash series debuted only a few months before Tomb Raider in 1996. Additionally the series was initially developed by Naughty Dog, who would later go on to make the Uncharted series, which is often compared to Tomb Raider. The first three games in the series were written and directed by Amy Hennig, a former employee of Crystal Dynamics, who would later go on to become the primary developer of Tomb Raider.
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
A promotional image for the game Croc: Legend of the Gobbos featured the titular character near slightly modified versions of Crash Bandicoot's shoes, Mario's cap (featuring an 'N' instead of 'M') and Lara Croft's guns, while he's using a toothpick, suggesting he just ate the three characters. The advertisement also cites three articles from gaming magazines that positively compared Croc to the Tomb Raider, Mario and Crash Bandicoot games.
The 2013 video game Deadfall Adventures, is inspired by multiple adventure franchises. It features the main character James Lee Quatermain, the great-grandson of Allan Quatermain, searching for a treasure linked to Atlantis which is located within Egypt, similarly to the original Tomb Raider.
In the 1997 video game Deathtrap Dungeon, published by Eidos Interactive, the face on the in-game player model of the character Red Lotus bears a strong resemblance to Lara.
In the US TV series Dexter, the first season episode "Let's Give the Boys a Hand", Dexter's girlfriend Rita shows up at his apartment in a Lara Croft Halloween costume, with the intentions of seducing him.
Having a saved data of Tomb Raider 2 unlocks the special "Raider" dragon in Dragonseeds.
Druuna: Morbus Gravis
After entering a special code: "DRUUNA3", the main character wears a Lara Croft outfit.
Duke Nukem: Time to Kill
In the 1998 video game Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, a strip club can be explored, where Lara's tank top and shorts can be found hanging up in a changing room. If found, Duke Nukem will refer to the outfit as "skanky." Duke confronts an aggressive woman dressed in leather, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lara.
Eros Comix has created a character, Lara Jones, for their mature audience comic books with a reference to Lara Croft and Indiana Jones by combining their names. Lara Jones is a treasure hunter with a long blonde braided hair, wearing shorts and a tank top.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination
Evil Genius 2 has a recruitable British crime lord henchman named Clara Jones who is an archaeologist. The quest to meet Clara Jones starts with a mission named Tomb Robbery, and involves Egyptian tombs. Next missions involve flooded tombs in Sudan, stone city in Petra, Bulgarian necropolis, Terracotta soldiers in China, and Taj Mahal. The quest to recruit Clara, involves her nemesis Carl Cafard, and missions in Scotland and Vienna.
Her background is as follows: "As the heiress of a large fortune, Clara Jones never learned the value of money - all the coins looked the same to her. With nothing to occupy her mind except for gambling, she found another hobby: stealing the world's most valuable or unusual items. She always needs just one more item for her collections, just one more game to win. Besides, upkeep on her mansion in Kent isn't cheap. She doesn't spend a lot of time there herself; she prefers a life of adventure, and sends her spoils back home for the butler to dust."
In the 1997 video game Fighting Force, developed by Core Design, graffiti of Lara can be seen on one of the passing trains in the level Subway. The image used is one of Joss Charmet's concept drawings produced for Tomb Raider II. The character of Alana McKendrick bears a resemblance to Lara, wears attire similar to that of Lara, wearing short shorts, boots, finger-less gloves and having her hair in a braid.
Also of note, The character of Janice from Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness bares a strong resemblance to Mace from Fighting Force, however given that Fighting Force pre-dates Angel of Darkness by six years, if this is a references, it is a reference AOD is making to Fighting Force, as opposed to the other way around.
Final Fantasy X-2
in the 2003 video game Final Fantasy X-2, the class system takes the form of "Dresspheres" which will change the characters attire and weaponry. The "Gunner" Dressphere, will give the character two pistol weapons, and dress them in garb similar to that associated with Lara Croft, namely, short shorts and crop tops, the Gunner garb is the default Dressphere of Yuna, the game's protagonist.
Also, the narrative of the game involves the characters working as "Sphere Hunters" which involves seeking artifacts called "spheres" that offer insight into the past, making it very similar in practice to archaeology.
Fortnite has an official crossover with Tomb Raider Franchise, but it also has a reference to Tomb Raider with the NPC named Cara "Indiana" Loft, whose name is a reference to both Lara Croft and Indiana Jones.
At the beginning of Futurama comic issue #38: Rumble in the Jungle, instead of Fry doing what Leela asked him to do, he played on his handheld video game, stating, "Come on, you dumb hedgehog, get those rings, or you can't survive the lava pit! I don't want to lose you the same way I did Crash, Lara and Mario!". This is an obvious reference to Sonic, Mario, Lara Croft and Crash Bandicoot.
In the Gantz manga, the appearance of Sei Sakuraoka's character is based on Angelina Jolie depiction of Lara Croft in the first movie. She is an expert at martial arts and likes to dress like Lara Croft to intimidate her enemies. In the anime, her appearance was changed for copyright reasons since she looked too much like Lara Croft.
The American animated series Gravity Falls, features a brief parody of Tomb Raider in the second season episode "Soos and the Real Girl". Inside a video game store, the clueless Soos tries flirting with a cardboard cutout for a series called "Pit Spelunker" which features a character who is a clear homage to Lara Croft. Soos accidentally knocks the cutout over and panics believing he's killed her.
Hidden and Dangerous
By entering the code 'laracroft' in gameplay after enabling cheats in the original version of the game (Does not work in Deluxe) the current soldier will become a woman.
In the 2012 video game Hitman: Absolution, in the mission Birdie's Gift, there is a brand of accessories known as "Lady Croft" which includes, ammo bags and shooting mats.
The 1999 video game Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, is heavily inspired by Tomb Raider, having very similar controls to the original Tomb Raider timeline. The most obvious similarities to Tomb Raider, involve item collection, in which Jones will crouch down to lift the item, while the camera spins around to show him from the front, which was the signature look of item collection in early Tomb Raider games. On top of this, Jones may say "Aha" while finding secret items, while a xylophone chime will play, both of these were mainstays of the original Tomb Raider timeline. This is rather ironic given that Tomb Raider was inspired by Indiana Jones and was even initially planned to star a man who looked similar to Jones.
A mobile game Johnny Trigger has an outfit made to look like original Lara with shorts and braid. The outfit itself is called "Hunter".
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
The 2017 movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, features the titular game Jumanji, takes on the form of a video game. The movie used video game tropes and questionable logic of video games as a point of humor, one which was the character of Ruby Roundhouse, played by Karen Gillan. The character design is heavily inspired by Lara Croft, baring closest resemblance to Lara's outfit from Tomb Raider: Legend. The character Martha, who takes on the role of Roundhouse, questions why she would be wearing a cropped shirt and short shorts in the jungle.
King of the Hill
In the animated TV series King of the Hill, Tomb Raider has several references. In the episode "Little Horrors of Shop", when Peggy is trying to teach the class about voting, several students vote for Lara Croft, which Peggy mispronounces as "Laura". In the episode "Rodeo Days", Hank is relieved that his son Bobby is not playing video games as often after getting a job, citing Tomb Raider by name, and seeming unsettled that Bobby would play a game where he was playing as a girl. In the episode "Get Your Freak Off", Bobby can be seen playing a game that has a female character that resembles Lara.
Legs Weaver is an Italian science fiction comic book published between 1994 and 2005. The main protagonist, Legs Weaver, has as partner, Janet Blaise, later in the series. The latter is based on Lara Croft. Like Lara, she has brown hair in a ponytail. She wears round sunglasses, a dark blue/black crop top, shorts, belt, gloves and a holster for her gun.
Life is Strange
In the 2015 video game Life is Strange, The main character Max Caufield remembers saying that she wanted to be like Lara Croft and travel the world and go on adventures, when she was younger. There is also an art museum called "Kroft Gallery," which is owned by a woman called "Amanda Kroft"
The Looney Tunes series has several references to Tomb Raider. The 2001 video game Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf was sold in North America as Looney Tunes: Sheep Raider. The 2004 movie, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, the character Kate Houghton dons similar garb to Lara Croft whilst she and the other characters seek out a temple hidden in the middle of the jungle. A 2012 episode of the animated series The Looney Tunes Show, part of the episode "It's a Handbag" features the character Lola Bunny, dressed like Lara Croft, her ears even being tied into a braid to complete the look.
The TV series MAD has had two allusions to Lara Croft. The first being in the sketch "Gaming's Next Top Princess" in which Lara Croft appeared as a contestant, but was eliminated. The second was a parody of Tomb Raider named "Tomb Reader" in the sketch "Rejected Video Games".
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
In the 2008 movie The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the character Evy O'Connell (Maria Bello), a British archaeologist and former spy, during the climax of the film, dual wields a pair of FN Hi-Power pistols. The FN Hi-Power is the Belgian version of the Browning Hi-Power pistol, which was Lara's weapon of choice from Tomb Raider to Tomb Raider: Chronicles. Another similarity is is that Evy and her husband had moved into a large manor in the countryside, she also writes about her former adventures much like the original version of Lara.
Murder: FBI Confidential
After the main character returns from Peru, her boss calls her Lara Croft.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
In the 2014 video game Murdered: Soul Suspect, reading the minds of civilians may reveal them wondering. "What's that game, the one with the woman who raids tombs?"
Natsu no arashi!
In this 2009 anime, in an episode where the team is exploring a place, while the other characters are wearing typical explorer costumes, the character named Kanako Yamazaki is seen wearing an outfit reminiscent of Lara's appearance. Her outfit features the same brown short, belt, backpack, and gun holsters on the hips as Lara. Her tank top is the same as Lara Croft but dark green.
Pitfall: The Lost Expedition
In the 2004 video game Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, there is a running gag involving the character of Nicole McAllister, who becomes progressively more disheveled and scantily clad as the game goes on, until she is only wearing a cropped tank tap, short shorts and boots, resembling Lara's South Pacific Outfit from Tomb Raider III. As well as this she wears a similar jacket to the one Lara wore in Tomb Raider II when she is in snowy areas. Nicole is playable by using a cheat code.
In the 2003 video game Primal, there is a cemetery on the world Artha where you can find a headstone inscribed with "R.I.P. Laura Cruft 2003". This may be a reference to The Angel of Darkness, which had been postponed several times until it finally reached stores on 1st July 2003.
Ready Player One
Lara makes a lot of brief appearances in the 2018 film, Ready Player One, which features a virtual reality world that is comprised of all elements of pop culture including movies and video games.
Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge
In Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge, there is a operation called "Tomb Raided".
In the mission, Tanya is portrayed as a parody of the Tomb Raider franchise's Lara Croft and she even infiltrated the great pyramid in Egypt to rescue Einstein.
The characters from the Resident Evil franchise, specifically Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield have been compared to Lara Croft in the past.
Claire's appearance in Resident Evil 2 of having her hair tied up in a ponytail, wearing short shorts and brown boots has been compared to Lara. As well as this, her appearance in the 2019 remake of this game has been compared to the appearance of Lara in the survivor timeline, Specifically her Leather Jacket outfit.
Jill's appearance in the 1998 game, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, has often been compared to Lara's garb from the original timeline, due to a similar colour scheme. Also in the 2020 remake, her outfit bares resemblance to the default outfit in the 2013 Tomb Raider game.
As a side note, Jill Valentine made her debut in 1996, the same year Tomb Raider debuted.
The TV series Robot Chicken has had two allusions to Lara Croft. The first being in the sketch "Spring of the Drowned Girl" in which the Nerd character imagines himself cosplaying as Lara Croft in a scenario in which he's transformed into a woman. The second was a parody of Tomb Raider itself, in which Lara traverses a tomb filled with mummies and various other monsters which she promptly kills, despite the monsters being friendly and welcoming of her, the sketch ends with Lara shooting comedienne Tracey Ullman.
In the 1997 video game Shadow Warrior, Lara Croft can be seen chained in a dungeon. Then one can hear: 'She has raided her last tomb' and you have the option to shoot her. In the beta version of Shadow Warrior, Lara was in much rougher shape, and it was replaced with the classic look in the final game.
Sid Meier's Civilization 5
Sid Meier's Civilization 5 has an achievement called "Tomb Raider", which can be acquired when the player pillages gold from an Egyptian city with a burial tomb in it.
In the 2018 video game Spider-Man, there is a chain of book stores called "Tome Raider." The logo for the store uses a similar font to the original timeline of Tomb Raider games.
Interestingly, Spider-Man launched just one week before Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Also Brian Horton, Rise of the Tomb Raider's director, left Crystal Dynamics to work at Insomniac where he worked as a director on Spider-Man.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
In the 2000 video game Spyro: Year of the Dragon, a character called Tara can be met on the Greek themed Desert Ruins world. Tara is an anthropomorphic mouse who is a treasure hunter, Tara wears identical clothes to the original incarnation of Lara Croft. Like Lara, Tara also has an English accent. Her dialogue references the gameplay of the actual first Tomb Raider games: "I've spent all day pressing switches and shoving boxes around."
Tad, The Lost Explorer
In the 2012 animated movie Tad, The Lost Explorer (known in Spanish as Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones), the female lead Sara Lavrof, an archaeologist, dresses in a similar manner to Lara to seek out the lost city of Paititi. In the sequel she briefly uses a climbing axe gets a jade pendant similar to the Survivor Timeline version of Lara.
Interestingly in the English dub of the first movie, the lead character, Thaddeus "Tad" Stones (known in Spanish as, Tadeo Jones) is voiced by Kerry Shale, who previously voiced Werner Von Croy.
Also, in the first movie, the plot revolves around finding the lost city of Paititi, which Lara would later end up seeking in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Tempo Express is a 2010 French/German animated series, about time-travel, consisting of 26 episodes. In episode 6, "Dino Trek", the female protagonist, Marinche, is sent to the Prehistoric Era and is dressed like Lara Croft. She too has a tank top, a short, combat boots with socks, a belt, mittens and a back pack. She is even seen fighting Raptors using a pistol, like Lara in the first game.
The Simpsons media franchise has had numerous references to Tomb Raider. In an issue of Bongo Comics' The Simpsons Comics, Tomb Raider was parodied for a story dubbed "Storeroom Raider" in which the cover art depicts Lisa dressed as Lara. Lara herself later made a cameo appearance in Issue #164. Homer is having a dream in which she suddenly approaches him and begins flirting with him. He asks her how to defeat Takamoto in Tomb Raider: Legend. Lara tells him that would be cheating. In the 2007 The Simpsons Game, the second level which is set in a museum, has a puzzle room inspired by Aztec design, how one of the statues, is of a large breasted woman whose appearance is modeled on Lara Croft.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
In the 2015 video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, whilst searching lost tombs, players may examine certain items. Firstly a pile of bones, which may cause Geralt to say "Huh, tomb raider. Seems this one likes Elven stuff." Later a backpack similar to the one Lara wore both in the original timeline of games, this will cause Geralt to say, "Blood soaked. The grave robber was wounded while attempting the climb, needed to bandage up. Managed to avoid the panthers at least." And lastly a climbing axe similar to the one used by Lara in the survivor timeline which is embedded in a pillar that a zipline is tied to, which will cause Geralt to say "Not bad. Wouldn't mind have something like that myself."
In episode 3 of season 3 of the French/Canadian cartoon series Totally Spies, the spies investigate in a cyber cafe. On one of the walls is a poster of "Spy Raider", in reference to Tomb Raider, with a character whose appearance is reminiscent of Lara Croft. In the French dubbing, Sam, one of the three protagonists, passes in front of the poster, is taken aback, turns around in front of it, and says with a bored look: "Oh no... tell them that spies don't all wear torn T-shirts. Some decorum..." , probably in reference to Lara's traditional short outfits.
In episode 24 of season 3, Lara Croft appears as a holographic trainer for the main characters in the show. Her appearance here is based on her wetsuit from The Cradle of Life, the only difference is that the holographic version has the WOOHP logo.
In Ugly Americans season 2 episode "Mummy Dearest", Lara Croft dodged traps to reach an artifact, but a mummy sucked away her life, leaving her just a skeleton.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
In the video 2016 game Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the game's sixteenth chapter "The Brother's Drake" revolves around a teen-aged protagonist Nathan Drake and his brother Sam breaking into a secluded manor filled with countless priceless artifacts. The manor is owned by an elderly British "collector" named Evelyn, who appears to be a tribute to Lara Croft as a magazine can be found in her house featuring her on the cover; not only is the byline "Lost Treasure of Xi'an" a direct reference to Tomb Raider II, but its title Adventure Life is a reference to the Adventurer! magazine that appears in the original Tomb Raider game.
In the second season episode of the American TV series Warehouse 13, Buried, the character H.G. Wells wears a tank top, short shorts and boots, and has her hair tied in a ponytail. When she is looked at quizzically, she says "What? I checked, this is what fashionable British archaeologists are wearing nowadays." which is retorted with "No, but it's what American filmmakers think fashionable British archaeologists are wearing nowadays." Wells replies with, "Oh really. Well, it is ever so comfy."
The rest of the episode involves the team traversing a booby trap filled building in Egypt. Wells uses a grapple gun similar to the one Lara used in Tomb Raider: Underworld.
In the 2012 movie, Wreck-It Ralph, the lead character Ralph, sarcastically claims he is Lara Croft when he is stopped at a security checkpoint.
In X-Men: Evolution season 1 episode "Survival of the Fittest", during a camping trip Jean Grey wears an outfit similar to Lara's and even has her hair up in a braid.
In the 2017 game, Yooka-Laylee, Clara Lost is a supporting skeleton character in the game who appears three times in different worlds. She is a self-proclaimed explorer who often gets into trouble often involving baddies. Her name is a pun of Lara Croft, and her appearance features a shorts, mittens, boots and a ponytail. Her concept art appearance relies even more on the classic appearance, with a classic braid.